St. Louis mom brings cyber bullying fight to Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

St. Louis mom brings cyber bullying fight to Cape Girardeau

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By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Tina Meier says talking to students about the dangers of cyber bullying helps her face the day to day pain of losing her daughter.

"In the beginning, people used to ask me 'Isn't it healing? Isn't this part of a healing process?'" Meier said of her decision to tell her daughter's story. 

Meier's daughter Megan took her own life in 2006 after being the target of an Internet hoax.

"I used to think, are you crazy?" she said.  "I will never heal from this. And there are still....believe me, I miss that child every second of every day. But, now that it's been four years and I go through this process, it's more of now getting to the kids."

Meier spent time Wednesday and Thursday reaching out to students at the Cape Girardeau Middle School, Junior High, and High School.

I caught up with Meier as she prepared to address the student body and staff at the Junior High.  I asked her what it's like to talk to a group of students the same age as Megan.

"I think it's important to get kids to connect," she responded.  "And when kids see things that have happened, tragedies that happened to children of their same age group, it makes it a little bit more real.  So, my hope is not to scare them. My hope is to share the story with them, but start bringing awareness and education for things that they can do to protect themselves."

Eighth grader Sarah Elfrink says she's open with her parents about who she talks to on the phone and online.

"My mom knows a lot of what I do on my cell phone and on the computer," Elfrink said. "And most kids probably don't tell their parents. I think me and my parents have a pretty good relationship."

But, Elfrink admits, many students may not want to tell their parents if they're being cyber bullied.

"I think if it was happening, most kids probably wouldn't tell their parents just because they'd be scared that their parents would come up to school and talk about it, and the kids would make fun of them more," she said.

"Everything is texting," said Meier.  "Everything is through Facebook. So we as parents don't know and kids don't come to us every single time there's a situation going on. It's usually when it's pretty extreme."

Meier also offers advice to adults, stressing the need to talk to your children, understand the technology they use, and set real limits for them. 

She says getting feedback from students let's her know she's doing the right thing to honor her daughter's memory.

"When I hear back from kids that say 'you know I did bully I didn't realize the things I was saying, I didn't realize the impact'. Or talking to students who say 'I went through what Megan went through, but I am doing this today', or parents talking about that. That is what helps me keep going and knowing that every single child, they are good inside and out. We just sometimes have to help them through some things."

You can learn more about Tina Meier and the Megan Meier Foundation at www.meganmeierfoundation.org.

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