Internet Crimes: Cyber-bullying

The father of a son who committed suicide on the Internet this week is “appalled” by the audience that watched his son die and is calling for regulations to oversee the Internet, according to an ABC News Report.

Abraham Biggs, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, took an overdose of medication for bipolar disorder, while a virtual audience of an unknown size egged on the teen. His father now blames the Website operators and those who watched and did nothing.

“I think they are all equally wrong,” he said. “It’s a person’s life that we’re talking about. And as a human being, you don’t watch someone in trouble and sit back and just watch.”

The college student died in his father’s bed Wednesday after he told the Internet community that he planned to take his own life.

Some who watched him take a fatal overdose thought Abraham was kidding because he had threatened suicide on the site before. Eventually some people did notify police and Abraham was found by police 12 hours later after his address was tracked down by the Web site.

Abraham Biggs Sr. was at work during this time. He says his son was crying out for help but no one listened, highlighting the need for online regulation.

It’s just another case of a young person sharing his life with an online community, who don’t hesitate to hurt you anonymously.

Consider the precedent setting case underway in Beverly Hills this week of 49-year-old Lori Drew. The case will center on whether Drew violated the rules of MySpace, that say you cannot use the service to intentionally harass and abuse another, but jurors could send her to prison for up to 20 years in jail for her actions that lead to the suicide of 13-year old Megan Meier, according to an ABC News report.

Drew should have known better when she got a teenage friend of the family to pose as “Jose Evans” and befriend Megan Meier, 13, a depressed, suicidal, lonely girl. When “Josh” after several weeks told Megan the world would be a better place without her, she committed suicide.

With a dead teenager, and a community shocked that an adult woman could be so cold and calculating, dropping to the level of a young teen to hear online gossip, prosecutors should have no problem proving criminal intent here.

Tina Meier, Megan’s mother, has since divorced Megan’s father and now travels the country talking to parents and teens about online harassment through the Megan Meier Foundation.

The Meiers have since divorced and Tina Meier now spends time heading the Megan Meier Foundation, touring the country speaking about suicide and internet harassment.

Cyber bullying goes on all of the time and according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which surveyed teenagers, overall girls are more likely to be bullied – 38 percent compared to 26 percent of boys. Among girls in the 15 to 17-year-old age group, the numbers jump to 41 percent.

Anti-social and cruel behavior – all happening from anonymous bullies online. Time to take the computer out of your teens bedrooms and pay very close attention to what is going on.