As I got up this morning and went online to check the latest news, one of the first things I found was news about Megan Meier. For those who may not remember, Megan was the 13 year old girl in Missouri who committed bullycide (suicide by bullying) after she was dumped by a supposed 16 year old boy named â€œJoshâ€ on the popular site My Space. It turned out that this 16 year old boy was really a woman pushing 50 named Lori Drew who was a neighbor and had a 13 year old daughter as well. Ms. Drew was posing as a 16 year old boy as she was trying to make sure that Megan was not trying to slander her daughter to others online. After the story broke last November, a blog surfaced online entitled Megan Had It Coming that was fueled with more abuse and slander towards Megan, her family and the situation itself. The blogger stated that he was Lori Drew. This blog fooled many and even made the news. This morning, I learn the real identity of the blogger is a 32 year old Washington State man named Jason Fortuny. Fortuny does not deny his actions and hides behind the freedom of speech in this. Also, he does not care what anyone thinks about him or his actions. His actions really hurt a lot of people but again, he does not care.
As traumatic as this story was for many, what made this man go a step further? What made Lori Drew devise the plan she did to pretend to be a 16 year old boy? One thing I do see in this and that is again, we are ignoring the root of the problem. The fact that we have consenting adults behaving like this is troubling. Is this a case of people having too much time on their hands or the possibility of adults with personality disorders? Both behaved in a pathological manner. Both should have had a childâ€™s best interest at heart. Yet both crossed a line. If we have adults behaving like this, why are we so shocked when children are behaving as they do?
Its time to take this online impersonation problem seriously. You visit social sites like My Space and Facebook and see young favorites like Zac Efron, Chad Michael Murray, Lindsey Lohan and others who have a page on there and guess what? They talk to their fans! Or, people are on there viciously attacking one another and doing so under false identity. After fooling people with these actions and much abuse, it comes out that the person behind the page was not really Zac, Chad or Lindsey but a cyber bully wanting to make problems for others just for fun. Or, kids from the same school spreading lies and making vicious pages about their peers. Some even go as far as being adult predators. Now we have a suburban mom and a bored man pulling the same games. What is the result of all of this? A lot of pain, hurt and psychological trauma ensue for the victims. A young girl kills herself. Then we have those who impersonate, lie and do all of this for their own entertainment. Something is definitely wrong when the welfare of others is at stake and at the hands of people who behave and enable this problem. Or, like Mr. Fortuny, they just donâ€™t care.
Lori Drew is dealing with legal ramifications in Los Angeles and is trying to keep a not guilty plea. What will happen to Mr. Fortuny? Can he hide behind the freedom of speech forever? Why do they feel they have done no wrong? One thing I can say is that this is how a bully operates. Until these sites take the bullying and peer abuse problem seriously, these problems will continue to exist. The innocent will fall and the guilty will rise. At the end of the day, that mind set is pathetic.
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info .