E – Safety & Cyberbullying

At the start of this school year during PSHCE all students received a presentation on Cyberbullying.

What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any communication sent by a minor via instant message, e-mail, game device, etc. that is meant to scare, humiliate, hurt, or manipulate another minor.

Short definition: It’s when one young person uses digital technology to hurt another young person.

The presentation told the story of Megan Meier, who died three weeks before her fourteenth. Megan had been bullied most of her life, especially in middle school as she was heavier than her classmates because of medication she was taking.

But Megan’s luck began to turn around when she met “Josh” a sixteen-year-old boy, on MySpace.

Megan and Josh were soon exchanging messages daily. They chatted for six weeks, and Megan’s feelings intensified. It was the first time a boy had ever thought she was “pretty.” She thought her life was turning around.

Then Things Changed – Fast!

Out-of-the-blue, Josh told Megan, “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I’ve heard that you are not very nice to your friends.” Megan was shocked and confused.

The next day, she began to receive messages from other teens cruelly taunting her about her weight, which she had struggled with since childhood. Megan’s mother Tina, who normally monitored her MySpace account, was not home at the time of the attacks.

For nearly 3 hours she was attacked and desperately tried to defend herself, but it only got worse.

Words Do Hurt!

Megan became hysterical. She had called her mother who told her to sign off right away. But she didn’t. When her mother came home, she was angry with her daughter for continuing to argue with the bullies.

“You’re supposed to take my side!” Megan expressed in vain as she stormed to her bedroom.

When Tina noticed that the last message on her daughter’s screen was, “The world would be a better place without you,” and her daughter’s response “You’re a boy worth dying for…” she rushed to her daughter’s bedroom.

Too Late for Megan…Still Time for You and Your Friends

It was too late to save Megan, who had hanged herself in her bedroom, she died the next day

Tina Meier was outraged when it was revealed that Josh never existed. Josh was the creation of Lori Drew, a mother of one of Megan’s former friends. She had wanted to gain Megan’s trust in order to see if Megan was talking about her daughter, so she testified. Lori Drew was criminally charged, but the charges were later dismissed.

This is a devastating event which by sharing with our students we can help them to see how important it is to speak about cyberbullying and why you should never become involved in bullying others.

The students all completed ‘The Megan Pledge’, signing to agree that they believed everyone is entitled to feel safe, online and offline.