MySpace Hoax on Good Morning America

Cyber-Bullying — Who's Responsible in Computer Tragedies?


This morning Good Morning America had an exclusive interview with Ashley Grills. If that name doesn't ring a bell, the story about the teenage girl who committed suicide after succumbing to a MySpace prank might. Grills, 19, admitted that she was part of the plan to create a fake persona on MySpace to start a fake online romance with a 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier.

Grills insisted that she was not the only adult involved in the tragic prank which led the vulnerable Meier to commit suicide after her fake online boyfriend and others began making nasty comments about her. Grills has testified to a grand jury that Lori Drew, 47, the mother of one of Meier's friends, was actively involved in creating the account and wrote some of the messages to Meier. Drew and her attorney deny that charge. To see why the case is being re-examined, read more.

Grills said, "we were just combining ideas about how we can figure out what Megan was saying about Lori's daughter. It was all three of us — me and Lori and her daughter." Drew was never charged with a crime in the initial case, but now may be facing federal fraud charges. Grills said she did the interview to show, "that I'm not heartless. I do know what I did and I take responsibility for it every day."

Megan Meier's mother has said, "It's pathetic. It's pathetic that we as a society do not have laws to protect our children or to protect us in general from somebody being able to hide behind a computer and do these despicable things." Meier's mother has turned her MySpace page into a memorial.

Are laws the answer? Is it even possible to determine in sad cases like this, who is responsible? Should networking sites like MySpace have tighter controls? Should parents more closely monitor relationships their children have online, or should there be tight minimum age controls on networking sites? Is the government responsible for prosecuting fraud when tragedy strikes?

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