According to Senior Coroner Andrew Walker, the online content Molly Russell watched “was not safe” and “shouldn’t have been accessible for a youngster to see.”
After concealing her “demons” from her family and seeing hundreds of distressing postings and videos, the 14-year-old from Harrow, northwest London, her away in 2017.
In the final six months of her life, Molly saved and “liked” 2,100 photographs on Instagram that dealt with sadness, self-harm, and suicide.
Since Molly’s death, her family has advocated for improved internet security and stricter regulations on material that encourages suicide and self-harm.
Before delivering his decision today, Mr. Walker urged that the “danger” that the internet has introduced to households all over Britain be acknowledged and “absolutely kept away from children.”
He said that he would not be permitted to provide advice, but he did want to “raise concerns” over children’s usage of social media. This included the absence of a barrier between users under the age of 18 and adults on the platforms and algorithms that promote hazardous information to youngsters.
He made these remarks as the children’s commissioner issued a warning that self-harm promotion is still widely spread on social media.
Dame Rachel de Souza revealed data indicating 45% of youngsters have seen hazardous information online, and she issued a warning that it might result in a reoccurrence of the Molly tragedy.
Only 50% of respondents between the ages of eight and seventeen who encountered such material—which includes self-harm and suicide—reported it. After six days of testimony, Mr. Walker stated: “In the past, when a kid entered their house via the front door, they were entering a haven of safety.
“With the advent of the internet, we introduced a source of danger into our homes without realizing the magnitude of that risk.”
“If there is one advantage that can come out of this inquest, it must be to recognize that danger and make sure the risk we have so welcomed in our homes is kept absolutely away from children,” the inquiry’s conclusion reads.
We must not allow this chance to make this portion of the internet secure pass us by, he said. We have to act.”
The family’s attorney, Oliver Sanders KC, claimed yesterday that Instagram and Pinterest were ‘ignorantly blind’ to their involvement in Molly’s death.
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