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Old 11-30-2007, 10:48 AM   #31
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
The apparent cause of her suicide, her parents have said, was the sudden decline of her online relationship with a 16-year-old boy they thought was named Josh Evans.
I absolutely agree that the woman behind the fake profile is a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being and I can see exactly why the parents would blame her, in part, for their daughter's death but who's to blame for the fact that this 13 year old girl added to her friends list and was chatting with a complete stranger for over a month?
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:51 PM   #32
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^They say the daughter asked her mother for permssion and the mother checked what was going on in the conversation. But from the conversations it seemed that "Josh" was a nice guy and he didn't ask her daughter any uncomforting questions or such.
Would you prohibit your children of having friendships or relationships only because it is online? I would say the mother did what she could and, except for this special case, she wouldn't have gotten any different information if she saw that guy in person.
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:53 PM   #33
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Well, a lot of parents do categorically forbid children and younger teens from talking to anyone they don't know in person online. Obviously that isn't a foolproof strategy, but it is a safety enhancer. Unfortunately the reality is that most 13-year-olds, no matter how level-headed they seem compared to other kids their age, are much easier to manipulate than, say, the average 18-year-old would be.
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:18 PM   #34
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I would understand that measure, and certainly think it's not a bad idea, but obviously here also another adult, the mother, was tricked to believe that guy was credible.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:29 PM   #35
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A measure of how deft Lori Drew's handiwork was, I suppose. But on the other hand, if Megan Meier's parents normally did follow a policy along the lines of what bonosgirl84 was suggesting--and actually, I *think* it's the case that they normally did--then they certainly picked an unfortunate time to make an exception.

On another angle, Times parenting columnist Judith Warner had this to say about the case today:
Quote:
Helicopter Parenting Turns Deadly

Megan Meier, a 13-year-old from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, killed herself last year after an online relationship she believed she was having with a cute 16-year-old boy named Josh went very sour. What she didn’t know--what her parents would learn six weeks after her death--was that “Josh” was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, a then-47-year-old neighbor and the mother of one of Megan’s friends.

Or former friends. Megan had, essentially, dropped the other girl when she’d changed schools and tried to put an unhappy chapter of her junior high school life--fraught with weight problems and depression--behind her. Drew’s daughter, one assumes, would have eventually gotten over it. But Drew didn’t. Instead, she got revenge. She created a fake MySpace profile (she later told police she’d done so to “find out what Megan was saying online” about her daughter, according to a sheriff’s report). Working with her daughter, she led Megan to become infatuated with “Josh.” And then she delivered the blow. “I don’t like the way you treat your friends,” Drew wrote. According to Megan’s father, “Josh”’s last e-mail to his daughter read, “You are a bad person and everybody hates you...The world would be a better place without you.”

The Meier case got massive play in the national media this past week, coming as it did on the heels of a major new survey showing that up to one in three children in the United States have been harassed or bullied online. But for me the tragedy highlighted another troubling issue that threatens our homes just as steadily as poisonous online communications. That is the disturbing degree to which today’s parents--and mothers in particular--frequently lose themselves when they get caught up in trying to smooth out, or steamroll over, the social challenges faced by their children.

You only hear about the most freakish cases, like that of Lori Drew or of Wanda Webb Holloway, the Texas mother who in 1991 tried to pay someone to murder the mother of her daughter’s chief cheerleading rival. (“The motive here was love, a mother’s love for a daughter,” said a police investigator at the time.) Yet everyday examples abound of parents whose boundary issues are not so extreme, but still qualify as borderline wacko. “People now feel like having a good relationship with your child means you’re involved in every aspect of your child’s life,” says Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees & Wannabes and Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads, who travels the country speaking with and counseling parents, teachers and teens. “Nothing is off-limits” now between parents and their kids, she says. “There’s no privacy and there’s no critical thinking.” Wiseman has heard stories of parents who hope to pave their child’s way to popularity by luring the in-crowd to parties with promised “loot-bag” giveaways like iPods and North Face fleeces. She recently heard of a father who, happening on an instant-messaging war between his child and a bunch of children on a sleepover, went over to the other house, called the other father outside, and began a fistfight that ended only after someone called the police. And of a mother who, unwilling to join her fifth-grade daughter in accepting the apology of another fifth-grader who’d bullied her in the playground, hounded the school incessantly, pushing for the other child to be expelled. Parents, she says, routinely blow a gasket when they get it in their heads that they need to seek revenge on their child’s behalf. “It’s, ‘I’ve been wronged. My kid has been wronged, so I’ve been wronged; therefore I have to do whatever’s necessary, including being disgustingly immoral.’ ”

“Where are the brakes,” Wiseman asked, “on parental behavior?” Otherwise put: where does adult behavior end and childish behavior begin?

...Parents of teenagers are not supposed to act like teenagers. They’re not supposed to dress like teenagers or talk like teenagers or spend their days text-messaging teenagers--as one mom Wiseman encountered did, exchanging expressions of shock and dismay, after her 14-year-old daughter broke up with a popular and athletic boy. (“I was totally basking in the social status I was getting from the boy,” the very honest mother told Wiseman.)

Or, at least, parents weren’t supposed to act like this in the past. “There used to be this kind of parent-child gradient, where the parent was expected to--and did--function at a different level than the child,” says clinical psychologist Madeline Levine, author of the 2006 book The Price of Privilege, who lectures frequently on child and adolescent issues. Now, she says, “that whole notion of parents being in an entirely different space than their children is disappearing.” In part, Levine blames parenting experts for this turn of events. She blames the self-esteem movement, decades of parenting advice that prized “communication” over limit-setting and safety. She blames the narcissistic needs of parents who want their children to like them at all costs. And in part, when thinking over the fused mother-daughter dyads she so often encounters in therapy, she indicts this generation of mothers’ loneliness, dissatisfaction in work and marriage, stress, sense of failure, and emotional isolation. In the end, she asks, when you’re feeling alone and blue, “Who are you sure is going to hang around with you? It’s your children.”

It’s very easy to put up walls to separate the likes of Lori Drew and Wanda Webb Holloway from the rest of us. Most of us, after all, are not sick or profoundly vindictive, entirely lacking in self-awareness or devoid of all empathy. Still, we have all caught ourselves spending a little too much time worrying about (or gloating over) our children’s popularity. We spend a lot of time feeling our children’s pain and put a lot of thought into shaping their world to offer them the greatest possible degree of happiness. But our kids really need something much bigger from us than that. They desperately need us to grow up.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:03 PM   #36
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They desperately need us to grow up I think that's such a profound statement. When whatever is necessary gets to the point of doing that to a 13 year old girl, well I just can't think of many things that are more pathetic than that. It's a real shame that that woman didn't get help for herself. She needed it.

I think that article describes the situation perfectly, and what led to this tragedy. That woman must have other mental health issues going on though, or she was just so overinvolved in her kid's life that she lost her mental faculties somehow. You don't have to have your kid online to have them subjected to that-you see it in sports and in so many other kids' activities.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:19 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
They say the daughter asked her mother for permssion and the mother checked what was going on in the conversation. But from the conversations it seemed that "Josh" was a nice guy and he didn't ask her daughter any uncomforting questions or such.
This doesn't matter. They still did not know who this person was. We've all heard stories about older men (and in this case, a woman) pretending to be the same age as the child they're chatting with to gain trust. It's a red flag in itself.

Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
Would you prohibit your children of having friendships or relationships only because it is online?
I would, and I do. I have a 14 year old daughter who has a MySpace account. The rule in my house is, if I don't know your passwords, you don't sit down at the computer.

Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
I would say the mother did what she could and, except for this special case, she wouldn't have gotten any different information if she saw that guy in person.
I disagree. If she had seen the kid (had it been an actual kid) in person, she would have seen that it was a child her daughter's age and not a mother with malicious intentions.

Like yolland said, nothing is foolproof. Kids will manage to do things you would never dream they would even consider. I just think that in this case, there is a combination of factors that led to this tragedy and no one person to blame. Add to that the fact that the girl already had emotional problems. If this ever happened to my daughter (God forbid) and I knew she'd been chatting with a stranger, I would definitely feel like I too, should share the blame.
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:21 PM   #38
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I'd want the person to serve jail time as well. I'd want them to be locked up and not able to corrupt or hurt more kids the way they already had. It always makes me wonder why people sue other people for absurd amounts of money in cases like this, and the fact that the girls family so far has not sued this lady, I think says alot for them.
All they want is for her to be arrested, at least they're not going after her for 12 million dollars.

That's what I dont get. These people that would sue someone for that much money......why???? Yes I understand the cost of a funeral, the trauma fee's, etc. but I knew someone that was in a car accident and was the only survivor. The other two in the other car were 16 and 17 and they were 2 times the legal limit of being drunk and were going 75 down an on ramp on a highway. Their parents tried suing for 125million dollars for the "emotional damages".
Even if your children would have made that much money in their lifetime.....
Society is so screwed up today.
But that's just it. . .if there is no real recourse with a criminal case (as appears to the case with this situation), then the only thing left is a civil suit. And if you want to "punish" the person, then it would make sense to sue for a large amount of money. It doesn't make sense that you'd like to see this woman arrested and locked up, but don't want to see her made to pay financially for what she did.

Granted 125 million dollars is a lot of money, but I'm willing to bet those parents would still rather have their kids back then have any amount of money. And if not, 125 million, how much would be "reasonable" for the parents to sue for. How do you put a price tag on your kid? "Well, I guess if I'm honest my kid wasn't really too bright so they probably wouldn't have made very much money as an adult so. . .I'm guessing he/she's worth about $30,000?"

I too am opposed to the "sue-happy" society we live in today, but I don't know that lawsuits for "emotional damages" or whatever are ALWAYS frivolous or without merit.

In the case of Megan's parents, I think they should sue--since it doesn't look like they have a criminal case--and I think they should seek millions.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:04 AM   #39
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^^ Yes, I would sue in civil court for a punitive amount and then donate it to a teen center or suicide prevention line or something like that.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:42 PM   #40
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New information-they used an 18 year old "employee" to create the page, and others had access to it. So they can't prove anything and no charges will be filed. I just hope no other crazies will get any ideas and think it's ok to do something like that.

cnn.com

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- No criminal charges will be filed against people who sent cruel Internet messages to a 13-year-old girl before she committed suicide, the St. Charles County prosecutor said Monday.

The parents of Megan Meier of Dardenne Prairie, who hanged herself last year, said her suicide came minutes after she received mean messages through the social networking site MySpace.

County prosecutor Jack Banas said at a news conference there was no applicable statute to file charges in the case. Banas said he looked at laws related to stalking, harassment and child endangerment, but found no repeated incidents of threats to someone's life or health, and no organized conspiracy.

A police report said that a mother from the neighborhood and her 18-year-old employee fabricated a profile for a teenage boy online who pretended to be interested in Megan before he began bullying her. The police report indicates others gained access to the profile, and it is not clear who was sending Meier messages just before her death.

Banas said based on additional interviews, the fake MySpace page was not created by the mother of one of Megan's friends. He said the page was created by the 18-year-old employee, though the mother and her 13-year-old daughter knew about the page. He said he was unable to speak directly with the 18-year-old, whom he said has been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:32 PM   #41
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Originally posted by bonosgirl84


I absolutely agree that the woman behind the fake profile is a disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being and I can see exactly why the parents would blame her, in part, for their daughter's death but who's to blame for the fact that this 13 year old girl added to her friends list and was chatting with a complete stranger for over a month?

It is the fault of the parents that let her talk online with the "boy." It is the problem in this country that parents are okay with their 12 or even 10 year old boys and girls dating. It is just sick. Kids that young are not able to take those kind of relationships seriously. Hearts get broken all the time, tears happen a lot. What if this was an actualy 13 year old boy whom the girl met in school? What if he pretended he liked her a lot, and the girl's mother let her date him? Then one day, he said he doesn't like her at all anymore and calls her ugly, etc., and the girl kills herself. Then what? Should there be charges brought upon the boy? Absolutely not.

It is terribly sad that this happened to the girl. But the fact is that her mother allowed her to talk to an unknown boy online like that, which never should have happened.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:47 PM   #42
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all i know is that i saw a segment on this on Anderson Cooper tonight, and it reduced me to tears.

obviously this girl had huge problems, and perhaps her parents should have been "more" vigilant, but hindsight is 20/20 -- i don't know what should be done in this case, so i'm just going to pause and reflect on the emotional hell many teenagers inhabit and resolve to try and be as positive an influence in the life of as many young people as i possibly can. i can't think of anything else to do.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:51 PM   #43
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Irvine.

You'll be an excellent help to young people, I've no doubt about that . I wish more kids felt they had people to turn to in times of crisis. Any adults who are part of any child's life should let them know, as often as they can, that they are always there for them if they need anything.

Angela
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:11 AM   #44
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Originally posted by Irvine511


obviously this girl had huge problems, and perhaps her parents should have been "more" vigilant, but hindsight is 20/20 -- i don't know what should be done in this case, so i'm just going to pause and reflect on the emotional hell many teenagers inhabit and resolve to try and be as positive an influence in the life of as many young people as i possibly can. i can't think of anything else to do.
I saw the AC segment too and I felt the same way. I think that's a wonderful response you have there, good for you. They are very lucky to have your influence.
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:16 AM   #45
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We can only hope that for every vindictive adult there are ten adults who choose to use their influences over children positively.
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