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MySpace Hoax on Good Morning America

Cyber-Bullying — Who's Responsible in Computer Tragedies?

This morning Good Morning America had an exclusive interview with Ashley Grills. If that name doesn't ring a bell, the story about the teenage girl who committed suicide after succumbing to a MySpace prank might. Grills, 19, admitted that she was part of the plan to create a fake persona on MySpace to start a fake online romance with a 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier.

Grills insisted that she was not the only adult involved in the tragic prank which led the vulnerable Meier to commit suicide after her fake online boyfriend and others began making nasty comments about her. Grills has testified to a grand jury that Lori Drew, 47, the mother of one of Meier's friends, was actively involved in creating the account and wrote some of the messages to Meier. Drew and her attorney deny that charge. To see why the case is being re-examined,

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Grills said, "we were just combining ideas about how we can figure out what Megan was saying about Lori's daughter. It was all three of us — me and Lori and her daughter." Drew was never charged with a crime in the initial case, but now may be facing federal fraud charges. Grills said she did the interview to show, "that I'm not heartless. I do know what I did and I take responsibility for it every day."

Megan Meier's mother has said, "It's pathetic. It's pathetic that we as a society do not have laws to protect our children or to protect us in general from somebody being able to hide behind a computer and do these despicable things." Meier's mother has turned her MySpace page into a memorial.

Are laws the answer? Is it even possible to determine in sad cases like this, who is responsible? Should networking sites like MySpace have tighter controls? Should parents more closely monitor relationships their children have online, or should there be tight minimum age controls on networking sites? Is the government responsible for prosecuting fraud when tragedy strikes?

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Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
This story has hit the news again, at least in California. Charges have been filed here, presumably because this is where MySpace is based. It will be interesting to see how the case goes. However, I still don't understand how officials in Megan's home state couldn't find anything with which to charge Lori Drew. How about fraud (impersonating someone she was not), harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress? I think the wiser course in the long run is not to distinguish between crimes committed in cyberspace and crimes committed in the "real world". I mean, a theft is still a theft (for instance) right? It may be a variant, but it is not an entirely new crime. Otherwise we risk seriously complicating the legal system and creating loopholes where crimes can be committed that don't fall under the legal codes (as was allegedly the case here).
Dharma77 Dharma77 9 years
The problem with teenagers is that they don't trust their parents. They would rather confide to a complete stranger on the internet than talk to their parents. To blame it solely on the parents is unfair. As in many cases, children keep the parents in the dark about who they really are and what they do when they close the door and go on the internet. Somewhere between protecting our children and be their true friends/confidants may lay that perfect balance.
lvis2025 lvis2025 9 years
The behavior of these people is petty and deplorable. Their actions demonstrate a level of depraved indifference that is criminal. Flash back in time to Charles Manson, although he never physically laid a hand on the people he was found guilty of murdering, he is still a murderer and will never see freedom in his lifetime. I do not think that the "hands-off", impersonal Internet age relieves us of the responsibility of being decent human beings. I wish that there were a way to criminally hold them responsible, but Karma will deal out its own justice.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
lori drew is a horrible human being, she is childish and she will have to live with what she did for the rest of her life but you cannot make someone kill themselves. this was not a healthy happy girl, she was on antidepressants and was known for mood swings. the reason why her parents should be brought into this is because they knew her, they knew what she was capable of. im sorry but if my daughter is hysterical and she has threatened to kill herself in the past, my first reaction would not to be send her up to her room where she can be alone with her thoughts. not only that if her mom was monitoring her myspace, than she would of seen that megan felt "neglected" she would of seen that megan was developing an unhealthy fascination with someone she never met (pretend weddings should of been a cause of alarm for her mother). please dont get me wrong, this is a tragedy and i feel for the girls family but i truly feel that if it wasnt something like myspace that would make her try suicide, it would of been something else.
cowboys22 cowboys22 9 years
In this specific situation why would you even bring up the parents. These no good heartless individuals were messing with a young girls emotions. It is not hard enough being a teenager these days you have to worry about mothers and grown human beings making you feel so bad you feel like your life is not worth living. That is not just sad it is absolutely disgusting. Those three people that did this to this little girl should not only be ashamed they should feel totally responsible for her death. Even if the parents were involved would they have a problem with her talking to a boy her age. Which was on a site MYSPACE that is made to find friends and develop relatoinships it is to bad certain people have no brain. No common sense on how to go about dealing with a girl that her daughter does not like. I can not even imagine the reason the girl hated Megan. This story made me sick when I first read it and it stills makes me sick today. There is no one else to blame in this story than the individauls that wrote such mean things to make a girl kill herself. Let me say that again they made a little girl kill herself.
artmanro artmanro 9 years
When people shall realize that human feelings are not a thing they can play with?I remember not such far ago the innocent boy who killed himself because of a similar so called "prank".Very sadly nobody can't prevent this,all we can is to minimize this through education,talking more often and seriously about those kind of issues.
moondancer01kb moondancer01kb 9 years
This message is for Racic, not to "yell" at you or anything but this is to give you some facts about this girl's case (I hate typing comments because it's never certain if someone is yelling at you or not). Her parents only allowed 1 hour of computer time in the house and the computer was in the family room where there was a parent in sight. When Meghan was getting those messages from the neighbors she started to act strangely and her parents would ask her what was going on but she was too quick and closed out the pages before the parents could see anything. The parents really did the best they could. I mean you would think if at least one parent is in the room monitoring the computer and the girl only had one hour a day then something good was being done. Unfortunately it wasn't. Besides kids have access to computers in libraries and schools it's pretty easy to get around the parental figures. I won't blame the parents fully but I do feel they should have been a bit more proactive when their daughter was clearly in pain. Hopefully now she's just resting in peace. That's all anyone can really ask for.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Here's a snippet from the article. You make a good point, thorswitch. But how often does this happen? How often does a little girl's heart break that it's not important enough to push aside a bad day and just be a mom? "Tina signed on. But she was in a hurry. She had to take her younger daughter, Allison, to the orthodontist. Before Tina could get out the door it was clear Megan was upset. Josh still was sending troubling messages. And he apparently had shared some of Megan's messages with others. Tina recalled telling Megan to sign off. "I will Mom," Megan said. "Let me finish up." Tina was pressed for time. She had to go. But once at the orthodontist's office she called Megan: Did you sign off? "No, Mom. They are all being so mean to me." "You are not listening to me, Megan! Sign off, now!" Fifteen minutes later, Megan called her mother. By now Megan was in tears. "They are posting bulletins about me." A bulletin is like a survey. "Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat." Megan was sobbing hysterically. Tina was furious that she had not signed off. Once Tina returned home she rushed into the basement where the computer was. Tina was shocked at the vulgar language her daughter was firing back at people. "I am so aggravated at you for doing this!" she told Megan. Megan ran from the computer and left, but not without first telling Tina, "You're supposed to be my mom! You're supposed to be on my side!""
thorswitch thorswitch 9 years
MandyJoBo - my understanding is that Megan's mother had been having a very "off" day already. IIRC, she had to take one daughter in for I think a dental appointment, and had told Megan to log off of MySpace while she was gone. While she was at the dentist's office, Megan called her, distraught about what was being said, and her mother again told her to log off. When she got home, Megan was STILL online, and that was when she yelled at her to get off the computer. So I don't think it was a matter of her not giving Megan the love she needed, she was just very frustrated at that point because Megan wasn't supposed to be on MySpace while her parents weren't at home, and she'd not only violated that rule, but had already been told twice to log off. Were I a parent, I might get frustrated and yell at a kid to get off the computer too. The main point, though, is that I don't think that kind of behaviour was the norm for Megan's mom. It's tragic that she behaved that way in this particular situation, and it probably made the situation worse, but I don't see it as a symptom of her being inadequate as a parent overall.
lula29 lula29 9 years
MandyjoBo tons of parents aren't perfect. I'm sure Meghan's parents didn't expect an adult to prey on their daughter the way the Drews did. That's unforgivable to me. Not reacting correctly at the time, however, is forgivable to me. The Drews should be punished. They are internet predators IMO.
calliope calliope 9 years
Syako- Thank you for the link. I think that this story is so disturbing. Megan's parents did what normal parents with a teenager would do- tried to limit her online activity and keep an eye on her when she was online. Sadly, I know families like the Drews, who are bitter and jealous people, and would consider bullying a way of "keeping up" or "getting even" with the Joneses. I find the Drews to be mainly responsible for this considering they set up an fake persona to spy on Megan and basically try to trap her into saying something negative about their daughter. After this didn't work, they attempted to create drama and caused a young, confused girl to kill herself. I feel that Megan's parents did what they could. I can understand why her mother would want her to get off the computer if something on it was upsetting her so much, but unfortunately when you are that age (or older) things you read online bother long after you turn off the computer.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
The thing that has always stood out most about this story for me, is that Meghan's mother admitted that when Meghan came to her crying and distraught, she screamed at her and told her to get off the the computer. Her idea of protecting her child from online predators was to limit her time online, and when Meghan experience online-bullying, her idea of helping her was to shout at her to get off the computer. What the Meghan's ex-friend and her parents did was inexplicable and inhumane, but no one can make someone else commit suicide. Meghan's mother, as indicated by her reaction to Meghan before she killed herself, had never given her the love she needed to survive the world.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Such violence. We need a hug today.
lula29 lula29 9 years
Thanks for the article Syako. Lori Drew deserves to be up under the jail. My God, this is a mother herself and the fact that she would expend energy to create a false persona to prey on a young girl blows my mind. In opinion this is no different then any other internet predator and she should punished. Myspace is not the problem. Before Myspace it was 3 way calls on a telephone where girls I used to know would dupe other girls into talking shit about a 3rd party who would secretly be on the other line. A beat down at school would ensue. I was never stupid enough to fall for that thank God. Teens are going to bully each other regardless to the medium they use to do it. What is different in this case is that the parents instead of putting things into perspective participate in the bullying. Megans parents did all they could. How could they know it was an ADULT!! not another child on the internet pushing their daughter over the edge. I blame the Drews 100%.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Hey KrisSugar I have tried to watch that Reunion show and thought these people are my age. No way! I had to turn it off because I was so embarrassed for them. My reunion is this summer and I can actually see some people from my high school still acting this way!
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I agree with Jude C "The fault lies with Lori Drew and the rest of the idiots she got involved in this cruel prank". Lori Drew has changed her story about how much she was "involved" with this situation. Her attitude during this entire ordeal is outrageous. How can anyone with a heart do something like this? It makes me sick. The authorities know that this account and the messages were sent from her home computer, yet she wants to sit there and act oblivious to it all. WTF? A beautiful young girl is dead because of a selfishly stupid act. She deserves to be punished, as do the other two people involved, even if they were kids. This type of bullying has got to stop. I was treated like crap when I was in school and I understand what it is like to have to go through rough times. But i will say that I can't imagine having to go through it in the age of MYSPACE and Facebook. That poor girl and her poor family. They shouldn't rest until those who had a hand in their daughter's death see justice.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
every single friend i had on myspace were people i actually knew, and now we have all deleted our accounts because we all realized how utterly immature and stupid the whole site really is, and pointless really, But kids? think its the sh*t, they get to post those cookie cuter pictures of themselves, you know the ones, hold the camera out or above and look all puppy dog like, its a legion of foreheads and eyeliner.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
and i just read the above comments and realized everyone had pretty much said what i just did... wow... i suck! thats what you get for scanning and not reading entirely!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
i think what disturbed me most about that article was that it states meghan was on meds for depression, then it states that she took vacations with the neighbors... ... so if she was on vacation with them, and she took medication daily, these people just didn't notice? that seems suspicious, which makes me feel like the neighbors knew she was emotionally suceptible to this kind of bullying.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
we did have email toward the end of high school, which allowed me to keep up with my boyfriend who moved out of state. I printed out his letters and poems on the dot matrix printer with perforated holes on the side. I have to thank technology for that bit of sweetness!
syako syako 9 years
it IS a nice gift :gift: :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
ha ha carterpillar! My friends from high school talked me into creating a myspace page so we could all keep up with each other. I thought it would be fun. THEN, once it all got going...it was eerily like high school all over again! It was creepy thinking about how hard junior high and high school would have been if we had had the internet. Back then, you decorated your binder or your locker, and that was your "space."
cubadog cubadog 9 years
It just goes to show that unfortunately parents can not be everywhere. It is such a sad situation that could have been prevented if the so called adult acted like an adult and did not destroy a child. Preying on someone that is being treated for depression is horrifying. I hope that parents take notice and take bullying/name calling seriously. Nothing is worse for a child than being teased.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That's a cool gift, syako!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Insecure girls grow up to be insecure women and bullying is terrible no matter how old you are, in this case it was two or three people who decided, with MALICE and INTENT to harm a child. I remember being 13 and thank god we didnt have the internet back than because it was hard enough face to face trying to survive teenage angst, i couldnt imagine surviving cyberspace. I told my husband this morning, that MySpace has done more harm than good to the world and should be just eliminated from existence.
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