Before I get into this post, I'd like to thank everyone for having followed all of our postings so far. I would especially like to commend my fellow Diocesan Brothers for their contributions and I would also like at this time to encourage the ones who have not posted to do so.
If you have been following the blog that many of you are well aware of the opinion that I have towards social networking sites. If you haven't then I would highly suggest you read the post that I wrote on September 13, 2008. I am going to borrow my introduction from that article before I begin to talk about this particular story that I have been following.
"I'm going to put a quick disclaimer on this one. If you have a social networking site I do not think any less of you. The words I may use in this post may be very loaded but that is because of my strong feelings towards this subject."
Lately I have been following the story of the suicide of Megan Meier and the trial of Lori Drews. Megan Meier was a 13 year old young woman from Dardenne Prarie, Missouri who committed suicide on October 17, 2006. According to a Wikipedia page about Megan, "Her suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace." Megan was a member of the social networking site Myspace.com, and was in contact with a fellow Myspace user named "Josh Evans." According to Wikipedia, Megan was a depressed individual but after having been messaging "Josh Evans," her spirits seemed to be "lifted."
"On October 15, 2006, the tone of the messages changed, with "Evans" saying "I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends". Other troubling messages were sent; some of Megan's messages were shared with others; and bulletins were posted about her. After telling her mother, Christina "Tina" Meier, about the increasing number of hurtful messages, the two got into an argument over the vulgar language Megan used in response to the messages and the fact that she did not log off when her mother told her to. After the argument, Meier ran upstairs to her room. She was found twenty minutes later, hanging by the neck in a closet. Despite attempts to revive her, she was pronounced dead the following day" This was taken from Wikipedia in regards to Megan's death.
It was discovered later that a neighborhood mother and her daughter were responsible for the user account "Josh Evans." The mother is Lori Drews, a mother of a friend of Meier's. After a period of time, criminal charges have been brought against Lori Drews and as of recent her Defense Attorney has moved to have the case dismissed. My information was taken from this recent blog, http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/11/judge-postpones.html, and it resparked my interest in this particular case.
At this time I would like to apologize for my reliance on Wikipedia.org. I know that it is not normally a reliable source but some of the links related to news with this case are either dead or have been removed from their website.
So you're probably wondering why I posted this article. Again I feel that it is necessary to expose the evils that Myspace and other social networking sites can create. Yes, Megan took a risk by participating in this particular website and yes her parents could have monitored her usage on such website. However, this event should never have happened. It was driven through this particular website and it shows how easy internet predators can harm not only our youth but ourselves. I implore all seminarians, priests, laity, and the world to suspend their connections with such a website.
I'd like to hear some of your opinions not only by our readers but my fellow seminarians and brothers.