Of course I’m sad when I read about something like this. I’m saddened that a kid would do this to another kid. I think it’s reprehensible that a parent would help their kid do this. There’s a great deal of parenting issues that need to be addressed by these families.
But none of them have anything to do with MySpace or the Internet.
I first heard about this in a different article and I immediately leaped to the conclusion that the girl’s parents should have monitored her MySpace account better and should have been more involved. That would have solved the problem, right?
As you can see from this article, they claim they were the only ones who could log on to the MySpace site and that their daughter could only be on it when they were in the room. Those are all “best practices” for dealing with Internet usage and kids, as far as I know.
But they weren’t enough.
You see, the Internet, MySpace or any other site isn’t at fault here. This same type of behavior has gone on “offline” for centuries, I’m sure. Spiteful rumors have caused more than one person to take their own life, including a 5th-grade friend of mine, long before MySpace had started.
So passing legislation about what you can say on the Internet and isn’t the right approach because you’re just shooting the messenger (the Internet).
Suing the families who perpetrated this is probably a good idea, if you’re suing to force them to get some sort of parenting education about why what they did was wrong. But suing for money just puts a price on your daughters life.
Instead, I think parents need to want to be better parents. Instead of condoning or facilitating your kids petty disputes (or, heaven forbid, setting up a fake MySpace account for them), talk to them about it. Understand them. Help them to learn right and wrong. Yes, you can (and should) teach your kids right and wrong. Call it brainwashing, creating zombies, I don’t care.
As a parent, your job is to teach kids what you believe is right and wrong.
Sure, you can let them find “their own truth”. But, like searching in the dark without a flashlight, who knows what they’ll step in or fall into.
I’m probably jumping to a bunch of conclusions anyway, but those are my thoughts on this, at this point.