It’s A Brave New World…

What’d I tell ya?

On Tuesday the St. Charles Journal in Missouri published a sad story about cyberbullying that drove a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier to commit suicide last year. Meier had been harangued by one of her MySpace friends named “Josh Evans” who sent her a barrage of hateful comments that sent her over the edge.

It turns out that Evans was a pseudonym created by two adults — one of whom knew the Meier family very well. The St. Charles Journal decided to protect the privacy of the two adults and declined to name them in the story. That didn’t sit well with incensed readers, who tracked down what they say is the identity of one of the adults and posted it online. Now the paper is being criticized for giving the adults anonymity.

*snip*

The St. Charles Journal wrote in the story that it decided not to name the woman and the other adult involved in the incident out of concern for the woman’s own teenage daughter. The two adults haven’t been charged with any crime.

But readers of various blogs that posted the story were furious with the paper’s decision. By matching certain details in the article with property records, they found the name and address of a woman who they believe created the Josh Evans persona, and published her details online.

Amazing what modern technology allows one to do. I’ll say that I am not sure there should be laws passed in the wake of Megan Meier’s sad story, as they could end up with very bad consequences — but I can’t say I disagree with the outing of the creatures behind her fake “friend” one little bit, even with the margin for error and the potential for embarrassment to the kids. After all, as a commenter said on another blog, if the experience of being outed and publicly shamed keeps the kids from becoming the sociopathic shitbags their parents turned out to be, well, that can only be a good thing.

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