The power of words has never been illustrated in such an alarming way, until recently. Today on Good Morning America Ashley Grills, aged nineteen, talked about her part in an internet prank on a social networking site that allegedly incited a thirteen year old young lady, Megan Meier, to commit suicide.
The horribly cruel prank was allegedly played upon Megan as a way to find out if Megan was talking behind another young lady’s back. Ashley says that the other young lady, unnamed at this point, was an off again, on again friend of Megans. The friendship turned sour and the young lady and Ashley wanted to see if Megan was talking badly about her.
Ashley alledges that the young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, also was involved in the prank. What they did was to create a profile of a young man, named Josh, who would initiate an online romance with Megan on the social networking site. It is important to remember that people can “pretend” to be anything they want online; you can’t read the body language of someone online.
Megan and “Josh” started up an online relationship. Back and forth it went…creating interest in one another until; Ashley says she felt badly about the prank. So, she started saying mean things…and, so did others on the social networking site. Ashley says that she wanted to end the “online relationship” and told Megan that the world would be a better place without her in it.
In Megan’s house there was a horrible outcome. Megan’s mother was aware of Megan’s upset. They talked but, Megan stormed off and went to her room. Twenty minutes or so later, Megan’s mother opened the bedroom door to find that Megan had hung herself in her closet in despair over the online words and actions.
Ashley says that the other young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, was involved in writing some of the verbal interactions with Megan. The news reports state that Ashley has been given immunity to testify against the other young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, in court. She says that the mother was aware of the whole process and involved. For the record, i have read statements that the mother, Lori Drew, denies any involvement.
The fact remains that the very young Megan is dead. Her family is devastated. Their lives will never be the same. Their child was vulnerable and was destroyed.
Ashley says that she is taking responsibility for her actions. I don’t know what that means other than admitting her involvement. I would imagine it would be hard to live with the knowledge that her actions directly influenced Megan Meiers to hang herself.
It would be a very valuable tool, if indeed Ashley is sincere in her regrets, if she was to start some kind of community service going into schools and educating young people about the dangers of online harassment. The old saying, sticks and stones may break your bones; but, words will never hurt me, is not true. Words have power to influence others…both in good ways and in bad ways! We must communicate the dangers in harassing others.
There may be legal repercussions in the future for the participants of this prank. Whether they can prove the mother’s involvement is not clear at this time. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this whole situation has had long lasting consequences for all of those involved; It is sadness personified.
The next time that you are on a website where comments can be made…it is wise to remember that there is still a standard of accountability to be upheld. Our words and actions have impact on others…why not make that impact a positive influence on others? Look here, http://theimpactfactor.net?id=35 and see if you can impact others positively in your personal life, business life, or spiritual life! http://theimpactfactor.net?id=35.