A 13 year-old hung herself, October 16, 2006, after being harassed online from a failed MySpace romance. Megan Meier, struggling with attention deficit disorder, depression, and a weight problem, fell in love with a fictional MySpace character, Josh Evans. After about six weeks, the fictional Josh Evans started a “campaign of vilification and online name-calling that ended when Megan took her own life.” “Megan’s parents said Megan received a message from him on Oct. 15 of last year, essentially saying he didn’t want to be her friend anymore, that he had heard she wasn’t nice to her friends.” Megan told her mother that “electronic bulletins were being posted about her, saying things like ‘Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat.’”
Josh Evans was created by Megan’s friend’s neighborhood parents, after Megan and a friend had a “falling out.” The friend’s mother, created and used the fictional character to see if Megan was talking about her daughter behind their backs. A total of three people, Megan’s friend, the friend’s mother, and a friend of the friend, monitored and communicated using the fictitious account.
The Meiers blame the parents for their daughter’s death. They were interviewed on the Today Show a year after the suicide in order to “continue for justice for Megan because we knew what they did. Although the case is still open, investigators told the Meiers, “that while the hoax was cruel, it was not criminal.” The Meiers hope to press criminal charges under a federal law passed in January 2006 that prohibits online harassment.
Of importance is that the parents closely monitored their daughter’s online activities, and were still unable to prevent her death. The parents had the password to the account, preventing her from signing on without them. “[They] had to be in the room” when she was online. The parents were also aware of the relationship, and warned Megan to “not get too excited,” and her mom warned Megan daily about the online relationship. The parents have since, gotten a divorce.
What could have prevented this sad story? The parents had closely monitored and talked to their child about her internet activities and she still was not protected. Ultimately, I don’t think this could’ve been prevented without dealing with the issue of sin. One of the most dangerous aspects of any relationship, online or in real life is the potential for idolatry, worshiping creation rather than the creator. Love, can be twisted from it’s original origin in God and lead to depression and ultimately suicide. Josh Evan became the over-riding authority Megan desired to please rather than God or her parents. Although the article suggests that close monitoring and dialogue with a child will help prevent such a tragedy from happening again, a child must be taught by their parents how to seek God’s pleasure before all others. Sin is the true problem, and the solution is in Christ.
Source: MSNBC’s Today Show