Megan Meir and Sarah Drew were both bullied as children; this commonality bound them together.
That is, until Megan became part of the “popular” crowd and Sarah began to feel left out.
Their story is one of the first to give parents a reality check into the potentially dangerous world of cyberspace; Sarah and her mother, Lori, invented a fake persona on my space in an effort to “get back” at Megan for “betraying” her best friend. Pretending to be a cute boy from another school, they hooked Megan into a lie — for several weeks, the “boy” flirted with Megan and asked her to be his girlfriend.
Then, out of nowhere, Megan’s “boyfriend” began to call her a slut, telling Megan that no one liked her and that everyone hated her. Due to a phenomenon known as the “mob mentality,” other teenagers began to chime in, telling Megan she was ugly, fat, etc.
Megan became so distraught that she ran up the stairs — her mother was home, but she thought Megan just wanted to be alone. A few minutes later she went to go check on her daughter and she found out that Megan tragically hung herself in her closet.
Parents’ Newest Role
Ten years ago, a 15 year old classmate of my daughter’s began writing disturbing messages on her MySpace page — she talked about how she hadn’t slept for days because she was coming down from a bad meth trip. One of her fellow students told his father about the messages, but they decided not to tell Jamie’s parents about what they’d seen.
Tragically, Jamie shot herself the next morning. Of course, there are numerous “what if” scenarios that run through our heads when something like this happens. And there are also lots of questions. Clearly, Jamie’s parents had no idea what their child was going through at the time, even though she was right across the hall from them.
But now that FaceBook has been around for a decade, we clearly understand that as parents, it’s our job to redefine boundaries a teen’s right to privacy with our responsibility to protect them and keep them safe.
How has your parenting style changed since the advent of social media?