Why kids create fake accounts to be mean online

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about why kids create fake social media profiles to engage in cyberbullying
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Why kids create fake accounts to be mean online

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I think that when children make fake accounts they many times are doing it, one they want to see, does somebody really like this person. So they'll make up a fake account. Let's ask them if they really like this girl or they really like my friend. So that way, they're not putting themselves out there too much. They have that arms' length, but they still have the information they want. Sometimes when they make up a fake account, they want to find out about their ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, and they don't want them knowing that they're spying on them, because then they feel like, oh well they're stalking me or they're going to make fun of me. So you know what? They can hide behind that computer and make that fake account. Then many times, these fake accounts are made to humiliate and to make fun of another kid. To act that child in school that maybe doesn't have a girlfriend or has a lot of boyfriends. So we'll make this fake account up, make them think that this person really likes them, and then they'll make them feel feel like a fool. Or they'll make up this fake account to spread this rumor about another girl. And these things truly can be detrimental. I mean, one situation is obviously my daughter's story, showing that somebody creating a fake account, not intentionally meant to harm my daughter, taking her own life, but those are the consequences, those are the things that happen from this. And there are a lot of risks. If you know of somebody who has created a fake account, then we ask you to report that to the Internet Service Provider. Make sure you report it multiple times. If you are a child and you know a child has made a fake account, and if it has anything to do with students in school, please make sure that you contact the school and let that school know and be aware of it. And also report it to the Internet Service Provider so they can take that fake account down. We see this quite a bit through Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. And we see these things happening quite a bit where they'll take pictures of students and call it "The Ugly List" or "this List." And these things can truly be damaging to people.

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about why kids create fake social media profiles to engage in cyberbullying

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Tina Meier

Executive Director

Tina Meier is an internationally recognized expert on bullying, cyberbullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, the roles of parents and educators, sexting, and suicide awareness and prevention.

On October 16, 2006, Tina Meier’s life took a devastating turn when her 13 year old daughter, Megan Taylor Meier, took her own life. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately Megan passed away on October 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday.

Approximately 5 weeks prior to her passing, a 16 year old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye.  Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace.  A few others joined in and horrible and hurtful messages and bulletins went out publicly to hundreds of kids. The last words that were said to Megan from Josh were, “The world would be a better place without you” and “Have a shi**y rest of your life.”

Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, he was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, which was Megan’s former friend, and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home.

In December of 2007, Tina Meier, founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Megan Meier Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to “create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in our children’s daily environment.” Tina’s hope is to make a difference through spreading Megan’s story, create awarness regarding internet safety, and educate others on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. She hopes to help one child at a time cope with these negative social issues. Ultimately, her goal is to empower children to be the change and continue the Foundation’s mission.

At the time of this tragedy, the State of Missouri did not have laws in place to prosecute someone using electronic communications to cyberbully another person. Tina worked closely with Senator Scott Rupp and Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force for the State of Missouri to help pass Senate Bill 818, which went into law on August 28, 2008. This law amended the harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication.

Each year, Tina travels throughout the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issue of bullying and cyberbullying in today’s world to students, educators, administrators, parents, youth rallies, counselors, law enforcement, and other professionals. Through Tina’s inspirational and educational message, the audience is empowered to make a difference not only for themselves, but others also.

Tina has continued to spread the Foundation’s message and Megan’s story through national and international media appearances such as network television stations, radio, news shows, magazines and syndicated talk shows. She also accepted a Presidential invitation to attend the 2011 White House Anti-Bullying Conference, presented at the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools National Conference in Washington, DC, and served as a consultant during the production of the ABC Family movie, Cyberbully.

Tina Meier resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her daughter Allison. 

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