My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Overprotective parenting and bullying: Who is to blame for the suicide of Megan Meier?

Many people have asked me why I have not addressed the Megan Meier story that broke over the last month. I admit that I’ve been extremely bothered by the stories and the implications of an adult bullying a child through mediating technology. That said, I suspected that the press wasn’t telling the full story. Like all coverage of horrible events, the press focused on what made the story juicy rather than trying to paint a complicated picture of what led to the event. I grew up in a town where a teen murder captured everyone’s attention (and turned into a made-for-TV movie). It took years and uncountable appeals before we had a decent picture of what actually happened and, during that time, the stories on the street were far different from what the press was covering. Thus, I wanted to wait until I knew more.

For those who are not familiar with the Megan Meier story, let me create a brief overview of what has been commonly covered in the press. Megan (13, St. Louis) had a MySpace profile when a cute boy “Josh” (16) begins courting her. All is well until Josh breaks up with her online by sending cruel messages about how she hurts her friends, is fat and a slut, and “the world would be a better place without you.” Shortly after reading this, Megan commits suicide. Josh turns out to be a fake profile created by Lori Drew, the mother of one of Megan’s former friends. Police investigate, no charges are filed.

Because the story taps into every parent’s worst fear and the paranoia over the internet, the press have been saying all sorts of things. Yet, never was there a response from the woman who admitted to creating Josh, most likely because she was forbidden from speaking out as police work out whether charges are to be filed. Then, this morning, I learned that someone who identifies as Lori Drew posted an explanation on a blog called “megan had it coming”. Given the title of the blog, I had serious doubts that this was legitimate but upon reading the post, I think it actually might be.

(Update: Lori Drew’s lawyers have said that Drew is not the writer of the blog. Thus, what follows is an interpretation of what an unknown person purporting to be Lori Drew said and should be taken with a grain of salt. The broader discussion of parenting today is still relevant.)

What we learn is that Lori viewed her acts as protective of her child who she believed was the victim of Megan’s dark side. She thought she was teaching Megan a lesson and never imagined the consequences of her efforts to give Megan a taste of her own medicine. Because of earlier incidents involving her daughter, she had no love for Megan and no respect for Megan’s parents who she felt were unable to see the dark side of their daughter. Step into this mother’s shoes and it’s easy to understand her logic and why, from her POV, she took the steps that she did. At the same time, her perspective signals some absolute failures in American society, our ability to rationally communicate, and Lori’s inability to imagine potential costs of her decisions.

Much to my dismay, parenting today seems to require absolute belief that you’re child is the best child ever. Many parents think that their child can do no wrong and, thus, are unable to hear critiques of their own children. In some ways, it’s not surprising… people have fewer kids (who are mostly wanted thanks to birth control), inhabit single family homes, and live in a nurture-centric world where their children reflect on them at every level. Doubting one’s child means doubting oneself.

The result of our child obsession is that parents are overprotective. They want to cushion their children from every scratch and get involved in every incident that makes their children feel emotional or physical pain. This is precisely what causes parents to call schools when their child gets a B or ring up other parents when something mean is said on the schoolyard or other symptoms of “helicopter parenting.” Children are not encouraged to struggle through the feelings of pain and hurt and find a solution; instead, parents are expected to get involved and fix it and most enter the ring voluntarily. In these environments, there’s no social solidarity amongst parents and parents are unable to hear criticism about their child. Instead, such critiques are viewed as attacks and are used as weapons when parents want others to control their children their way.

Reading between the lines, I get the sense that Megan was emotionally all over the place (for whatever reasons – an actual issue or just plain puberty). She was struggling to negotiate friendships and she had a mean streak when she was depressed. She wasn’t the cool kid and she was struggling to fit in and made poor judgments about how to handle friendships. She wanted someone to love her and make her feel cool and important. Frankly, it seems like pretty normal middle school tumultuousness, but we live in a culture that can’t accept rough edges. Maybe meds would’ve stabilized her, maybe her self esteem would’ve improved without the braces, or maybe and most importantly, it was just a matter of time. But as anyone who was not that cool in school can tell you, middle school sucked. It’s ground zero for learning how to negotiate social interactions and many mistakes are made. This is when bullying and boy/girl-dynamics and other dramas really come to the forefront. It’s awful, it’s hell. Yet, the responsibility of a parent of a tween is not to try to fix all painful situations, but to teach their child how to negotiate them responsibly. This is much harder than fixing things and it’s challenging for Type A parents who desperately want their kids to turn out OK. But no good comes of kids not learning coping mechanisms and relying on parents to fix every social issue.

While I understand Lori’s desire to protect her child and her feeling of helplessness for not being able to do anything, it’s not clear to me from her story that she focused on giving her daughter much agency. Instead, she felt as though she was responsible for fixing it. Here is where I think she made a mistake.

Deceiving children is problematic to begin with, but doing so by tapping into their emotional weaknesses is outright deadly. At a gut level, Lori knew that she could capture Megan’s attention by creating a male character that showed interest. In other words, Lori knew how to manipulate Megan’s attention and emotions. She capitalized on that knowledge, self-justifying it as responsible parenting. She knew how to have the “perfect” relationship with Megan, to gain her trust. This is knowledge that adults have because we’ve had our mistakes and learned how to negotiate social interactions. The reason that Megan’s relationships were so fraught was probably not because she was evil but because she and her peers were struggling with how to appropriately interact with one another. It’s clear from Megan’s reaction to Josh that she was fully capable of positive interactions in a social context not strife with miscommunication and the confusion of school status. If she were truly as messed up as Lori assumed her to be, she would not be capable of this.

In my opinion, by choosing to “teach her a lesson,” Lori acted in a manner that was both ethically and morally inappropriate. Revenge is foolish in every context, but adults should never take revenge on children, regardless of how much those children upset them. This is an abuse of power. Furthermore, it signals to Lori’s daughter that revenge is an OK response to being hurt. Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek”? For a Christian society, we don’t do a good job of upholding basic Christian values.

While Lori believes that her act of verbal maliciousness is equivalent to Megan’s meanness to other kids, she’s wrong. Kids can definitely be cruel and it definitely hurts, but it’s embedded in a larger context about the struggles for status and popularity, the social context of the broader peer group, and, generally, reciprocal bad treatment. As much as parents want to believe that other kids are mean to their child but their child is innocent, this is rarely the case. There is usually build up and a lot of back and forth before an incident that we’d call “bullying” takes place. Bullying rarely happens out of the blue – it’s situated in a larger context of social drama and hurt. By pretending to be a love interest when sexuality is burgeoning and having a significant other is a valued status marker, Lori was not simply operating as another peer. Furthermore, by building her trust, Lori consciously made Megan vulnerable. Even if she did not realize it, the trust built in such a context far exceeds the trust between most peers at that stage, and thus made Megan more vulnerable to Josh than Lori’s daughter was to Megan. Capitalizing on that trust and swiftly and cruelly rupturing that bond was a truly horrible act of abuse.

I’m glad that Lori is sharing her perspective and I hope that parents read it because I imagine that many can see themselves in her shoes. Yet, I hope that parents can also see why Lori’s decisions are flawed and dangerous. The critical lesson here is not about the internet, it’s about parents responsibilities in raising their children. As tempting as it is to get involved and as easily as it is to do so online through deception, parents usually need to stay out of such situations. They need to advise their children, teach them how to cope, and support them through the tumultuous times. Of course, there are examples when things go too far over the line and parents need to get involved, but it seems as though that line has been erased. Helicopter parenting is dangerous and, frankly, I don’t think that we’re going to see the full damage of it for another 10 years as this cohort enters the workforce (although Twenge argues that the narcissism part is already affecting the workplace). The biggest problem is that this needs to be done en masse. It doesn’t help to have some parents disengage while the majority of a peer group’s parents are calling the school and demanding fairness and getting involved in every childhood squabble. Parenting is hard, seeing your child hurting is hard, thinking you can fix it and choosing not to is hard, wanting your child to get every opportunity possible and yet choosing not to manipulate the system is hard. I totally understand why parents want to get involved and fix it, but such engagement can be harmful to children long-term and result in a more problematic culture more broadly.

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30 comments to Overprotective parenting and bullying: Who is to blame for the suicide of Megan Meier?

  • “a Christian society”? Yikes! I certainly understand that the half the world, and most of the western world, follows some level of Abrahamic tradition, but sorry, that phrasing knocked me off my chair. The article is great though, and I agree with your perspective on the roles of adults with respect to children.

  • I also agree with your view on adult roles. This was such a sad story from all points of view. Thanks for the post.

  • Sympathy for the Devil

    You start off by saying that you suspected there was ‘more to the story’ than the press let on. It seems as though there isn’t. Lori Drew clearly has some serious boundary and ethical issues to work through. Lori’s “perspective” is that she felt her child had been victimized. Who knows what really happened between the children — it doesn’t really matter — but Lori wasn’t just standing up for her daughter, or teaching her daughter that sometimes people have a dark side and it sucks. Her actions reflect her own deeply troubling ‘dark side’, someone who can sustain a credible false persona, taunt a teenager, and brag about it. She could’ve gone on some chat site or SL to work out her issues, but no.

    This story is receiving so much press not just because of Drew’s meanness and its unexpected repercussions. It’s also a dramatization of something which I fear goes on every day — adult parents who never matured, and getting emotional catharsis through their children. Hopefully this is a tiny fraction of parents overall; I also suspect that asshole moms and dads have been around for a long time. But the intersection of online communication make it so easy both to socialize, and to rip apart social bonds.

  • Great post. The big challenge for us all as we try and navigate both real and virtual worlds is that the dynamics change, and this is especially tough for kids who are testing limits in both areas. What I see is that the distancing that takes place in email/im/social sites is sufficient that kids will say things they would *never* say in person, because the reaction would be too extreme — you call someone a name once and they pop you, you think twice the next time, you hurt someone or lie to them, you see their face and reaction as human and not text.

    Adults have the same problem, only with more experience to fall back on. Except in this case, the adult did not.

  • Wow – can’t believe she’s titled the blog “Megan Had It Coming” and secondly, she began the blog by posing as a teenager – again. Nobody ever has that coming. She end’s the last post with “Here I am, internet. Come get me.” – if this really is Lori Drew (and we really can’t be 100% sure) she’s seeking this attention for some reason… I wonder what that is?

  • Thank you for such a thought provoking piece. The story is so disturbing to me as a parent and also as someone who regularly participates online. While my views of the situation are quite similar to yours, I would like to add some of my own observations on the issue.

    1. Advances in our medical knowledge has brought about a culture that is pain-adverse. Somewhere along the line, we have decided that pain is not only unnecessary but also unnatural. The fact is that pain is a necessary and natural part of life – it is necessary in order to develop an adult body, necessary to give birth, and necessary to keep our bodies healthy and keep obesity at bay. And just as how physical pain is necessary for our bodies to cope with and achieve amazing feats, emotional pain is necessary in order to learn more about ourselves and become emotionally stronger. (“There is a crack, a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.”) In my view, this case does not so much illustrate child-obsession or parental instinct that has gone into hyper mode but a case where the parent is unable to cope with tension as she has completely detached herself from the notion that pain is natural and necessary. Once one has detached themselves from pain, then they are unable to learn how to cope with it and worse, that they no longer can see when *they* are the cause of that pain. As you so rightly put it, its time we start exploring our conditioned responses and attitudes to life’s hardships and pains.

    2. My own experiences of online participation is leading me to believe that it not only exposes (or makes visible) people’s level of detachment/social skills, it also scales it. So for someone who is already detached, this becomes even more apparent the more they participate online. The environment leads them to believe what they want to believe. For Lori, this is undoubtedly true. She was already detached from the notion that she is able to cause pain and so in her imagined world, she was able to justify her actions as “lessons”.

    3. That part of the problem is that Lori engaged in this medium without having been mentored and guided on what is socially acceptable behaviour. We teach our children how to behave appropriately in several situations but now we are facing a world where *we* ourselves have not grasped “what is socially acceptable” in these spaces. This is exacerbated by “expert advice” that tells us that in order to protect ourselves, we should give false information about ourselves… ie to create a culture whereby lying is a social norm. Lori obviously felt that lying about her identity was an acceptable social norm in the online world.

    Anyway,sorry to ramble on. Thank you again for such a thought provoking piece. On another note, I have found your blog to be a really great read and I will definitely be coming back here more often.

  • Karen Stewart

    As I school principal and superintendent, I am way too familiar with hovering parents. The worst are those with really great kids who would learn functional social skills in a wink if mama would let them get their hands dirty for a minute.

    You are WAY too generous with wacko Lori “it’s easy to understand her logic”. This is a sick response from an adult to a child and goes way beyond “hovering” and directly into the realm of scud missile.

    This is cyberbullying resulting in death. No charges against Lori?? Shame on us.

  • I am astonished you believed that weblog was real. Absolutely astonished.

  • This is a great posting! To learn more about the harmful effects of helicopter parenting, check out Love and Logic products. They define the types of parents: helicopters, drill sergeants, and consultants. And teach parents how to use empathy and love to step back and let their children handle their own challenges. This mother should never have gotten involved, unless the safety of her child was harmed. You can learn more about Love and Logic at http://www.loveandlogic.com.

  • A couple of thoughts about some of your observations/assumptions about parents identifying with their kids and then, like Lori, able to use the virtualities of an online network to act for them. You wrote:

    “In some ways, it’s not surprising… people have fewer kids (who are mostly wanted thanks to birth control), inhabit single family homes, and live in a nurture-centric world where their children reflect on them at every level. Doubting one’s child means doubting oneself.

    The result of our child obsession is that parents are overprotective.”

    You identify the motivating issue of Lori and many parents as being “overprotective.” That is the socially approvable thing to say. And I’m sure it’s what many parents would say, if anything, to describe why they behave as they do when they believe they act *for* their children. This is narcissism. Alice Milleris the one to read to understand this, although she writes about it with the word “abuse” so her essential insights may be overlooked if someone believes that abuse needs to be

    The parents are acting for themselves and they cannot distinguish between what is acting for themselves and what is acting for the child. In this case, Lori is acting out of her own anger, helplessness and anxiety about her daughter. Lori’s actions are not about (nor are they practically) helping her daughter (who, as someone who has been bullied or rejected online or not, needs safety, mirroring and nurture herself). Lori’s actions are about attempting to rid herself of her own feelings. The Net is a new-ish tool to act this out, but this dynamic is not new at all.

    I wonder about the nameless person in the story. Lori’s daughter who was “dropped” by Megan. I wonder about Megan. Kids developing reach out for mirroring and acceptance. Parents have *way* more impact on a child than anything else they experience. If one wanted to completely understand what went on, one would have to know a lot more about Megan’s parent’s and Lori, and her partner and how both kids were (or weren’t) parented. Then you’d have to know how Lori and Megan’ mum were parented, and so on, and so on.

    It’s always easier to look to the object (the club, the team, the car, the drugs, the TV, the Net) than to what goes on in our own selves and homes. What makes the Net fabulous is the people. What can make an experience on it painful is the same thing.

  • Actually, you were too generous with Lori, and as a parent, I sure as heck would not see myself in her mirror because I would not stoop as low as she did. Raising a tween is a challenge; I know; we have one. Trying to teach her common decency, civility, and values in an age when a bunch of people who should not be breeding do anyhow is quite the challenge. It is something that concerns us, the amount of selfish people that pass as “parents” who have no sense or disposition to discipline their children, or be there for their children when they need to be, or allow them to learn and grow. You may want to fix everything, but the reality is you can’t. Sometime you have to let the kids sort it out themselves and be there to support them when something happens. It’s not easy, but that is life. What that woman did simply gives a bad name to parents and the concept of parenting. People like her just make the rest of us who actually do parenting a little more cautious.

    Thanks for the post. Of everything I have seen in this story, yours has been the most thoughtful response overall. I can always count on you to explain things like this in a positive way. I may not have been as charitable to the lady, but I can still see your view.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  • Chambers

    “For a Christian society, we don’t do a good job of upholding basic Christian values”
    I nearly stopped reading at this point. Which is a shame, because it was an interesting article up until then. I did however overcome my atheist outrage to finish reading but still, that was unnecessary. First of all the USA is NOT based on “Christian values” and secondly, this suggests that Christianity is the only basis for morality – this is NOT the case, and actually somewhat offensive, suggesting that athiests or anyone with other religious beliefs are immoral people incapable of doing “good”! I don’t want to start a theological debate right now, but this does seem like a somewhat too provocative statement.

    In regards to the article, coincidentally I stumbled across the blog mentioned not more than a few minutes before I read this and I certainly had my doubts to the authenticity of the whole thing. Reading some of the comments, I still do, but *assuming* the blog is real, it makes for an interesting discussion. I can actually relate to the statement “it’s easy to understand her logic” as I was able to follow quite well the twisted way this was going. Not that this excuses it in any way, but it’s always important to be able to get into the psyche of such people in order to comprehend their actions…

  • M-H

    You might be interested in this.If the blog is genuine this woman is a real nutcase and has probably pushed too far.

  • Gio

    Great analysis! I live in italy, and it is possible to observe in the schools and amonge teenagers, the same social dynamics as the ones you describe here. Words by words: my wife teaches, and it is not possible saying to parents that their children should apply and study more. Because it would require first to themselves to apply and work/live with more responsability: but this is not the proposal that our advertisment and consumer based society is suggesting us. We are living in an ideal zero-effort society: but reality is not. And on the long run it will force us to change idea.

  • Ben

    I believe the blog is really Lori Drew, but that doesn’t matter.

    If a parent were present at a physical bullying by a number of children, the first action would be to remove the child from the situation. Drew did not remove her daughter from MySpace. The next thing is talk to the kids’ grownups. Drew should have complained to MySpace. That’s what I did when my son was in a similar situation.

    Context is everything. The Lori blog makes it sound like life revolved around what people were doing on MySpace. Her daughter attends a bricks and mortar school. Drew should have asked what relationships were like at school. She should have talked to her daughter’s human friends and teachers.

    I love my Internet connection, but I know when and how to pull the plug.

  • Seriously…people actually believed this?

    Blogger poses as woman tied to MySpace suicide

    Now I understand how Nigerian 419 scams continue to succeed…

  • Steve

    I have heard the perspective expressed that the really significant story in all this is less the harassment leading to Megan’s suicide, but the “mob mentality” involved in the attacks on Lori Drew. An interesting perspective, and one worth thinking about, IMO. Yes, she did a terrible thing, and probably deserves punishment. But there is a reason why vigilante justice has fallen into disfavor in our society. How many of the people calling for “peoples’ justice” against Lori Drew actually know the facts of the case? Everybody is being inflamed by media images of questionable accuracy. Don’t get me wrong – what she appears to have participated in is unspeakably evil. But is lynch law the answer?

    Just a thought,
    -Steve

  • Why do you say that “Revenge is foolish in every context”? At a minimum, revenge can serve as a deterent; it can also provide a sense of fairness and satisfaction for the person harmed, and can provide some closure and sense of fairness for the person doing the harm. Unless I’m misunderstanding what you mean by “revenge”.

  • What Lori did is not acceptable…

    In today�s world, parenting a teenager is an exhausting as well as a thrilling experience. Parenting a teenager is not that easy and in no way it is impossible. All that it requires is patience, creativity and willpower.

    Several hazards can influence child in teenage years. So, it is more essential for a parent, while parenting a teenager, to explain their child about what is right and what is wrong.

  • The weblog has been confirmed to be a hoax. Evidentially, it wasn’t even written by a woman.

  • reading over the comments, i’m not sure why people got their knickers in a bunch over “christian society.” as far as i can tell, most of our laws (and morals by extension) are christian in nature. lol. we’ve NEVER had a non-christian president. so, yeah…

    that being said, i know you’re an [academic] expert at youth and the net but it’s going to be impossible for you to make a claim on how a mother should and shouldn’t act since you have no idea [becuase you don’t have a child]. i’d just be careful i guess because when i was reading your post, i kept thinking, “well, how would you know?”

    that being said, i felt your arguments were 1000x stronger when kept to a criticism of lori as an adult, something you are qualified to speak on. 😉 all in all, what happened is a real shame.

    problem is lori was no more guilty of a _crime_ than most gov’ administrators. (in that they take advantage of others, namely the people they’re suppose to represent, by way of information and perception control).

    btw, i also liked your general critique of our current social structure:
    “At the same time, her perspective signals some absolute failures in American society, our ability to rationally communicate, and Lori’s inability to imagine potential costs of her decisions.”

    i’d personally like to hear more on “failures in american society.” seems to be mostly an issue of alienation, something only exacerbated by the intenet and all its coolness.

    cheers!

  • I’m actually pretty surprised the blog content was deleted, leaving just one final post. I don’t know which is worse though, the blog or Encyclopedia Dramatica’s entry about her. I was so disturbed by some of the content I had to stop reading it…despite the fact that I’m currently working on a paper about the topic.

  • Sarah Bluehouse

    I’m just catching this story now… It seems to me that this isn’t new. We just have new tools for our cruelty. Let me tell you about the time my mom barged into my room and started screaming about me being a drug addict, literally held me down on the ground making accusations…because someone’s “mom” got involved in my life… And my mom is a pretty balanced woman – I wonder about the women who aren’t so “balanced”.

    Children are the cruelest of all

    “Get involved in their child’s life.” (remember Heathers?) I think the trouble is folks don’t seem to know how to get involved (in a healthy and productive way).

    Media and real life models are true to the cruelest truism, and in a sensational world, that cruelty is amplified as we lose the boring end of communication that stresses balance, understanding, talk, non-judgmental discussion. Our lives filter out the rational…add the bonding power of “trash-talking”, and “bitching” and we get events like Megan’s suicide. Because the drama creates and maintains friendships and connections. – even if it is utterly manufactured.

    Parents do not belong in “children’s spaces” – period. They as grown-ups no longer have the innocence? (Dust? perhaps?) to understand the subtlety of the dynamic… as a grown-up, I can remember what it was like to be cast out weekly, and the memory, unresolved creates/enforces the protective sphere.

    I learned somewhere along the way that drama=bonding, and when that is the only bonding we have to hold, the cruelty is magnified in the protective sphere. So I’m certain, that Lori felt that she should teach her a lesson… I’m also guessing that (and I’ll say the unspeakable here) that Megan may have hurt Lori’s daughter quite a bit – social group forming and cliquing are some pretty painful knives to twist… so Lori; “got involved” presumably ‘innocently’, but what Megan did/told Lori’s daughter… that’s the gossip I want aired.

  • danah, people are not reading the comments, and therefore aren’t aware that most of this discussion is based on fabricated events. Don’t you think you should update your post to reflect the truth?

  • Steve

    messels,

    I have to disagree strongly with your implication that since danah is not a mother, she has no standing to criticize maternal behavior. We have all had mothers – and most of us have had them with us as we grew up. Most of us have had a chance to see other people’s mothers and compare them to our own. In addition, parenting is a widely discussed and studied social issue. Certainly a parent has a special perspective on that issue which is of value – but to say that they are the only ones qualified to speak is just wrong!

    -Steve

  • robin

    I am not a mother but i am an 18 year old senior in high school. Creating a fake profile to terrorize a 13 year old child is not what most would call as “protective parenting”. The mother of the other girl should have been the “adult” and confronted Megan about the issues she was having with her daughter face to face. Not call her fat and a slut online while pretending to be a boy. That is childish, something another 13 or 14 year old would do to a person they didn’t like. There are better ways to handle such situations. Obviously Megan’s “darker side” played on the girl but it did not drive her to committ suicide. Instead her mother drove Megan to suicide. Helping your children is something that people need to do, help them to resolve problems themselves. Your children look up to you, they look to you for guidance and resolution. Does Lori Drews’ daughter look at her mother and see a hero, someone who protected me when i needed it? Or does she see a murderer like everyone else sees?

  • Sarah H

    “Why do you say that “Revenge is foolish in every context”? At a minimum, revenge can serve as a deterent; it can also provide a sense of fairness and satisfaction for the person harmed, and can provide some closure and sense of fairness for the person doing the harm. Unless I’m misunderstanding what you mean by “revenge”.

    Tim, you have got to be kidding right? You are not seriously advocating the use of revenge no matter what happens? Let me tell you something…I am a victim of bullying that was so extreme and swift in its movements I took an overdose. It was intentionl and the pain I felt (initially )when I survived was one of despair…I didn’t want to be here. Not once have I attempted or allowed ANYONE to take revenge on the two people that bullied me. If you don’t understand that revenge is just pre-meditated bullying then start reading, learning and understanding. What I did do, was hold them accountable for their actions by involving the police and letting a third party deal with it who both had the authority to deal with the situation and the lack of emotional ties to the agressors to be blown off with a “It wasnt bullying, you are just too sensitive.”

    There is NEVER an excuse for revenge. EVER!

  • Parent

    I have a 15 year old daughter who is at the receiving end of an adult bully’s abuse. Her sin? Not remaining friends with the adult bully’s daughter! The abuse extends beyond cyber-bullying (on Facebook) to intimidation at school, rumours in the community etc.

    My daughter seems to be handling it well by ignoring this woman, I on the other hand feel helpless to protect her because adult-on-child bullying is so unbelievable.

    My heart goes out to any parents in the same situation…

  • It’s disturbing to hear stories such as this and I know the impact of bullying having been through it at a young age. It’s just a different channel of communication but effectively the same message, and just as damaging. It actually motivated me to set up a multi media bullying resource to try and help young children aged between 5 – 8 understand about bullying and how to prevent being a bully. Although it’s general based on school bullying it makes me wonder whether we should develop one for young children to understand cyber bullies. It’s an important issue that I believe needs to be dealt with at an early age to boost confidence and understanding. Any thoughts?

    Kath
    http://www.bullyinginschool.org (not a blatant plug of a web site!! but your thoughts would be appreciated)

  • Bullying is a tough nut to crack. Unfortunately, despite considerableefforts at the school level, without wider community support, the impact of programs and other school individual interventions have been limited. I try to refrain from commenting on such cases as Meagan because there are too many unknowns. We tend to throw blame in all directions when no one “saw it coming.” Yet when someone responds like Lori, we see that the other extreme is just as dangerous. Is there a lesson here about being level-headed and taking a measuredapproach tailored to the actual situation?