In 2017, a 14-year-old girl called Molly Russell killed herself after viewing online material about anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. Finally, almost five years later, an inquest will examine whether the algorithms used by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to keep children hooked on their sites contributed to Molly’s suicide. It is horrendous that it takes such a heart-breaking event to provide an opportunity to question the power that tech giants hold over the lives of children and young people.
We hope from Molly’s tragic death, as we do from Breck’s, that some good can come. We need this inquest to be the moment that tech companies, who place protecting profits over protecting our children, are finally held responsible for their inaction. They must commit to making their platforms safe for children and young people.
We hope there is justice for Molly and her family, and that no other family suffers a similar fate. Change needs to happen and needs to happen now.