Cyberbullying – not just for kids

A  recent news report from BBC News worldwide stated how a 49 year old woman, Lori Drew from Missouri USA, who set up a fake Myspace Profile to cyberbully a 13 year old girl who later committed suicide, is facing criminal charges. Drew has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury for Cyberbullying and faces 1 charge of conspiracy and 3 charges of accessing protected computers without authorisation to inflict emotional distress, each carrying a maximum 5-year prison term.  Drew, her teenage daughter and a third woman who worked for the Drew family, reportedly created the profile of a 16 year old boy under the fictional name of “Josh Evans” in order to taunt Megan Meier.  Ms Drew denies creating the profile on the social networking website and sending messages to Megan who hanged herself after “Josh” broke off the virtual relationship in October 2006. It is alleged that Megan killed herself after receiving several messages, including one purporting to be from “Josh” saying the world would be better off without her. “After approximately four weeks of flirtatious communications between Josh Evans and [Meier], Drew and her co-conspirators broke off the relationship,” the U.S. Attorney for the District of California said. “Within an hour [Meier] hanged herself in her room. She died the next day.” The Los Angeles federal prosecutor,  Thomas O’Brien added that “Any adult who uses the internet or a social gathering website to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realise that their actions can have serious consequences,”   

Cyber-bullying is illegal in America in approximately 10 states, and others are now considering extending their laws to address this issue due to this incident.

 

This is a very sad and tragic case which goes to prove you really don’t know who you are talking to on the internet. If this is happening to you or someone you know please visit speak to someone, phone Childline (0800 1111) or visit Think U Know for more information. 

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