Seven Kids Hang Themselves In The Name Of "Networking"

How about a MySpace suicide story seven times more depressing than Megan Meier? Because there's been a spate of hangings in Brigend Wales. It starts with Dale Crole, a 20-year-old straight from juvi who hanged himself in a warehouse and was found a year ago. A friend of Dale's named David hung himself next, and a friend of David's went next, and four more boys followed before last Thursday, when 17-year-old Natsha Randall hung herself in her family basement. Now cops seem to be wondering whether Randall spearheaded some sort of vapid suicide cult. It's hard to say. All the members of the suicide ring had heavy internet habits. A story about Natasha "sxiwildchild"'s page on the social networking site bebo in the Daily Mail portrays her as one of those teenagers whose inability to distinguish right from wrong seems palpably traceable to an inability to distinguish real life from the internet. (The story notes that "Will you have sex with me?" is the fourth question she asks prospective friends on the site.

And while I'm reluctant to accept the Daily Mail's theories about the character or motivations of pretty much anyone with a vagina, it seems disturbingly clear that the problem here is not so much the "glorification of suicide" — which, let's face it, is old as time or at least def. Shakespeare — but the fact that, for the younger generation, the fanatical posing and uploading and friend-collecting and pixelated mirror-staring enabled by Internet "networking" can stunt a kids' development at the age and maturity level at which they first discovered started logging on. As one of the dead kids' moms pointed out:

I think the problem is they do not know how to speak like adults about serious issues like this. They can speak to each other on the computer but do not know how to express their emotions in other ways.
And the inability to express their emotions begets, in a way, an inability to feel them.

Yeah, I know, I'm fucking old. Which is why I'm going to just say it: can't we fucking BAN MYSPACE, and all its bastard social networking stepchildren, already? What redeeming social value do these sites have?
Pastimes like this make Halo look like the fucking Model U.N.

A Wild Child Surfed Her Way To Suicide And "Virtual Immorality" [Daily Mail]
How Friends Paid Online Tribute To Dead Youngsters [Guardian]