Generic, everyday Facebook statuses can range from an inspirational song lyric, to a random quote about how one feels, to what one is actually doing, or to what one is actually thinking. USA Today’s Kristen Mcgrath wrote, In July of 2010, Facebook, the popular social networking site, reached its 500 millionth user. Two years ago, Facebook’s population consisted of only 100 million users. This number continues to accumulate by about 115 million confirmed friendships per day (2). Social networking sites such as Facebook, are fantastic methods for communication around the globe, but problems come with the luxury of easy communication which we must face. The uses of Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter have the capability to cause harm to any society: cyber bullying, jeopardizing a college or career opportunity, and the user’s reaction to different situations within the social network are instances when the use of social networking creates harmful effects for the public. Social networking sites create the necessary shield in order for a bully to stay protected. Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter’s personalization options let users create individual profiles. Bullies are able to hide behind pictures and words; therefore, any bully can be easily overlooked. USA Today’s Kristen Mcgrath additionally wrote, “Facebook users have uploaded 50 billion photos (and tagged 15 billion of them). Einstein, Twain, Wilde, Gandhi and Shakespeare are among the most quoted people on profiles. Nearly 20% of users list themselves as single, about 16% as married. Members create 400,000 events each day” (2). The majority of social networkers do not understand the dangers of virtually interacting with other social networkers in which they do not personally know. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, the United State’s Representative for Pennsylvania's Eighth Congressional District, affirmed, “The massive popularity of social networking Web sites like MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook, as well as chat rooms, undoubtedly brings people together. They come, however, with numerous risks, increasing minors' exposure to child predators, sexual solicitation, pornography, and bullying. Without parental supervision, children and teenagers are vulnerable to these dangers” (1). Cyber bullying, especially when involving teens and “tweens,” has the potential to cause great harm to the bully’s target. Furthermore, extreme bullying is competent to change the life of the one being bullied, change the lives of the family of the one being bullied, or tragically end the life of the one being bullied.
Megan Meier was just like any ordinary thirteen-year-old girl. She encountered a virtual relationship with a sixteen-year-old boy named Josh Evans. The virtual relationship between Josh and Megan lasted about six weeks. Megan Meier’s Story, found on The Megan Meier Foundation Website explained the events which occurred; “And then on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006, Megan received a puzzling and disturbing message from Josh. Tina(Megan’s mother) recalls that it said: "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.” (Pokin 2). Megan questioned Josh as to why he thought that, but she never received an answer. The next day, October 16, 2006, Megan’s friends on Myspace were posting hurtful bulletins about her such as, "Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat." The last message that was supposedly sent to Megan from Josh read something along the lines of, “"Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you” (Pokin 3). Tina Meier found her daughter hanging in the closet on the night of October 16, 2006. Megan passed away the next day, three weeks before her fourteenth birthday. Suicide caused by cyber bullying is the most extreme effect of social networking, however, there are