Prosecutors claim she created the persona of a 16-year-old boy to flirt with and then cruelly spurn her neighbour’s daughter, Megan Meier. The 13-year-old hanged herself in the wake of the rejection and a message on her MySpace profile that said “The world would be a better place without you”.
– Article at The Register
There are many thing wrong about this case, and despite my best efforts, also many things worthy of a chuckle and facepalm. While it was ridiculous for a 40-year-old mother to taunt her next-door neightbour’s daughter using a MySpace account, identity theft and insults are two things the Internet are likely not going to run out of any time soon.
However, it is the matter of the girl committing suicide due to a comment on her account that really stuns me. All right, I have long accepted that there are individual differences when it comes to the usage of technology, and the Internet, being such a huge investment, is no different. But please explain, how is it possible for a 13-year-old girl to become so infatuated with a boy – someone met on the Internet, I must remind all – that upon hearing a single whiplash comment from ‘him’, would result in her immediate self-termination.
I’m sorry, but empathy is not my strong suit. There are just so many fundamentally wrong things in this case that I don’t know which to pick at or blame first.
No wait, it’s simple. Let’s just blame the Internet.
The Internet is a complicated place these days (an extreme understatement), but most of all, it is simple a degrading place. For every worthwhile website, there are at least four dozen more that runs like a showcase of the worst humanity has to offer. I always thought that that was breaking news at least a decade ago, and some people have wised up. Apparently not.
To me, the main issue with this case seems to be the fact that younger and younger children are being exposed to the Internet, which is literally the world at your fingertips; a magical place, to be sure, but whether it’s a Lewis or Lovecraft depiction really lies with how hard the parents are working to protect their children. You’ve basically gotten emotionally-immature children being desensitized without supervision, which usually turns out Really Bad (I should know).
I suppose I can link this to some rant on how technology is screwing humanity sideways and backwards, but I won’t bother. Really, long past the point of caring how much people are messing up their lives. Just going to say my piece, sit back, and enjoy the fireworks.