Friday, November 16, 2007
MySpace teen suicide

MySpace teen suicide
Excerpt from an Anderson Cooper 360 report on the suicide of teen goaded on MySpace.


see it here

Posted By CNNBLOG: 5:16 PM ET
  3 Comments
My sympathies to the family who lost their daughter.

I'd like to take an informal poll of all the parents out there. If you had a daughter who was being courted rather enthusiastically by a boy she "met" over the internet, wouldn't you say: "Honey, why don't we invite this young man over for dinner?"

Problem solved. Unfortunately too late for this young woman.

So much of communication is body language, inflection, and tone of voice. Words alone don't tell the whole story.

For that reason, e-mail and chat are imperfect means of expression when getting to know someone. Unfortunately, they seem to be the preferred methods in this digital age.

Compounding the problem is the fact that teens lack the emotional maturity to realize that chatting with someone online doesn't constitute a "relationship" beyond casual platonic friendship. Because they don't realize this, they invest far too much emotion in something that isn't fully "real" - even if the person on the other end is not misrepresenting themselves.

I think someone identified a key problem when they acknowledged that this young woman was troubled and had difficulty interacting socially with her peer group. For kids like this, the answer is to turn off the computer and go meet real people, even if it's difficult or awkward.

Many churches have youth groups which are "safer" for hesitant teens than the clique-ridden groups at school. Even interaction with others outside their peer group (reading to senior citizens, babysitting younger children, volunteering at a pet shelter, etc.) will give these kids confidence in forming relationships.

High school can be a tough time, especially for shy, awkward teens. But it's up to the adults in the teen's life to monitor and guide them through this rough period.

Kids that feel enough unconditional love from the adults that matter to them aren't going to get catastrophically emotionally derailed when an amorous would-be suitor turns away from them. They've built up a resiliency that will carry them through the inevitable disappointments in life.

It's a good lesson for all of us. Relationships are more than texting each other a hundred times a day. Sometimes you have to sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone face to face. Then they become "real".
Posted By Julie San Diego, CA : 11:51 PM ET
Anderson,

In advance of your posting, I wanted to point out what I feel is the real story here -- one totally missed by your guests.

It's the blurring of reality in the mind of this teenage girl -- and how the parents did nothing to awaken her to this absurdity.

How blurred are we that we get emotionally attached to a fantasy friend whom we've never met? Then, when our fantasy friend turns against us, we are devastated. This is more like the tragedy of living inside the game of Dungeon and Dragons.

This girl was clearly victimized by the neighbor lady, but that's really an aside. It could have been anyone.
Posted By Loren, Del Mar, CA : 2:26 AM ET
I wish Anderson would investigate what else this woman has done through the years to hurt others, as old as she is there is no way this is the first time she's done something so evil and she should be up on charges for raising her daughter to be just like her.

Carmela
Helper, UT
Posted By Carmela : 1:43 PM ET
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