Many parents are losing the fight to save tortured souls like Molly Russell

A FRIEND whose daughter is self-harming says that one of her trickiest tasks is keeping her away from other like-minded friends.

“Otherwise, the cutting becomes normalised and they egg each other on,” she observes.

Molly Russell, from North West London, was found dead in her bedroom aged just 14

Molly Russell, from North West London, was found dead in her bedroom aged just 14Krediet: PA:Persvereniging
Ian Russell described his daughter’s suicide as a 'modern-day nightmare'

Ian Russell described his daughter’s suicide as a ‘modern-day nightmareKrediet: Rex funksies

Egter, keeping troubled teenagers away from algorithms that feed their obsessions is a battle many ouers are losing — and it’s a struggle being played out right now at the inquest of 14-year-old Molly Russell.

Molly, from Harrow, Noordwes Londen, was found dood in her bedroom in November 2017.

Close inspection of her phone revealed that in the six months prior to her death, she had liked, shared and saved 2,100 images and 183 videos that contained depressie, self-harm and selfmoord inhoud.

Haar pa, Ian, described his daughter’s suicide as a “modern-day nightmare” and, prior to the delayed inquest starting, gesê: “I have no doubt that Instagram helped kill my daughter.”

Nou, a senior executive from Instagram has addressed that accusation at Molly’s inquest by claiming that such content was safe for children, also arguing that it could help them find “solace” within a community.

I’ll leave it to the coroner to deliver a full judgment on that particular view- punt. But suffice to say, even appel CEO Tim Cook has warned: “Don’t let your kids use sosiale media” and there are other tech giant employees who share that sentiment. Medics too.

Dr Free Hess, a paediatric emergency consultant in the US who campaigns for child online safety, says she has treated a seven-year-old after “a full-on attempt of suicide” and adds that the numbers are rising, the ages are dropping and she thinks it’s “absolutely connected with social media”.

She describes it as a grooming process where kids follow one hashtag after another, “grooming that person to self-harm more, consider suicide more and maybe even take action on that”.

Instagram says policy changes have led to much of the harmful content being removed.

But Molly’s dad and other campaigners say there is still plenty that is easy to find.

In die VSA, 3,000 15- to 18-year-olds a day attempt suicide. In die UK, about seven per cent of children have attempted suicide by the age of 17, and that figure will only rise if an online infrastructure and system isn’t put in place to protect them from accessing content posted by the “like-minded” souls my friend is so fearful of.

Ja, the internet can be a force for good in so many ways. But not in the case of Molly Russell and the tortured young souls Dr Hess speaks about.

So any parents being badgered by their young children for a slimfoon hierdie Kersfees should perhaps think twice, of op die heel minste, apply strict parental controls.

Otherwise you’re handing over a device that exposes them to all the harmful outside influences you’ve hitherto tried to protect them from.

Bravo to Kaye for tackling the tango

MY friend and fellow journalist Kaye Adams is a tough Glaswegian who can chair a live political debate in her sleep.

But ask her to perform a tango on live television and she turns to jelly.

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington pulled it out the bag on Saturday's live Strictly show

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington pulled it out the bag on Saturday’s live Strictly showKrediet: PA

Egter, on Saturday’s first live Streng she pulled it off with great aplomb as myself and our fellow Loose Woman Nadia Sawalha watched from the audience like proud parents.

As Kaye’s fellow competitor (and namesake) Tony Adams said in yesterday’s Sun: “I was a little more confident of my football capabilities than my dancing capabilities.

“The intensity and the learning curve . . . it’s madness to learn a new skill in that little amount of time.”

dit is. And when you’re not a “performer” either, it’s doubly terrifying.
In werklikheid, Kaye’s secondary fear (after the prospect of tripping over) was perfecting a “sexy face”.

But the magic of Strictly is watching those who’ve had no dance/drama training courageously two-step outside their comfort zone and slowly improve each week.

So make sure you vote for the absolute beginners, because God loves a trier and they need all the help they can get.

Fat chance

IN yet another move towards the normalisation of obesity, thousands of pairs of XXL trousers have been ordered to accommodate the growing, ahem, needs of police officers.

Chasing and catching criminals? Fat chance.

TOM’S A BRIT OF A UK FAN

TOM CRUISE has been extolling the virtues of the UK and its “breath-taking countryside”.

“I also like the fact I am walking in the same streets as Shakespeare, Dickens and even The Beatles – I love it.”

Tom Cruise has been extolling the virtues of the UK

Tom Cruise has been extolling the virtues of the UKKrediet: Getty

Makes a pleasant change from some of our home-grown luvvies who take any opportunity they can to run it down.


HOSTAGE Shaun Pinner, now released, says he was electrocuted, stabbed and subjected to a mock execution while held in captivity by voor verskrikte klasmaats forces in Oekraïne.

But worse, because “I hated them anyway”, he was subjected to Abba songs on a loop.

One man’s torture, it seems, is another’s perfect night out.


RYLAN’S MA - VEL

FOLLOWING Rylan Clark’s story about his mum turning up unannounced at his house, I wrote tongue in cheek that one milestone to becoming a grown-up was getting your parents to “prearrange a visit or, Op die heel minste, ring the doorbell”.

But now his autobiography has come out and in it he tells of wanting to end his life after his marriage broke down.

You couldn’t blame Rylan Clark's mum if she actually moved in after his recent revelations following his marriage breakdown

You couldn’t blame Rylan Clark’s mum if she actually moved in after his recent revelations following his marriage breakdownKrediet: Getty

“There were weeks that I couldn’t speak  . . . my mum was concerned at one point that I had genuinely had a stroke . . . it was like my body shut down," hy sê.

“Twice last year I ended back in an ambulance because my heart had failed.”

So it’s little wonder his poor mum Linda is keeping a close eye on him.

You couldn’t blame her if she actually moved in.

A GRAN PLAN BY HARRY

PRINCE HARRY is reportedly taking a Sharpie to certain sections of his forthcoming memoir.

A source says he’s “desperate to get it refined in the light of the Queen’s death”.

Prince Harry is reportedly removing certain sections of his forthcoming memoir

Prince Harry is reportedly removing certain sections of his forthcoming memoirKrediet: Reuters

Hmmm. Is this because his grandmother’s demise has made him reconnect with the importance of familie?

Or did he take one look at the overwhelming public response to the Koningin’s death and realise that throwing even the faintest criticism in the direction of his now deceased grandparents would cause irrevocable harm to Brand Sussex?


IN 2005, despite Namibian media reporting that “local police had secured the area and barred cameras from the premises”, a photographer managed to get the first ever romantic snaps of Brangelina on a secluded beach.

It caused quite a stir, as Brad Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston op daardie stadium.

Nou, former editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann Wenner, reveals in his memoir that “the tipster was Angelina” who gave the US Weekly photographer info on exactly where they’d be.

A practice, I might add, that’s not uncommon in celebrity circles when it suits them. Remember this the next time you hear one of them bleating about media intrusion.


MUM ON TOP JOB

GUARDSMAN David Sanderson, 19, from Morpeth, Northumberland, was one of the pallbearers at the Queen’s funeral.

But the first his mum and dad knew of it was when they saw a Press photo of the rehearsal.

Pallbearer David Sanderson, 19, from Northumberland, carrying the Queen's coffin out of Westminster Abbey

Pallbearer David Sanderson, 19, from Northumberland, carrying the Queen’s coffin out of Westminster AbbeyKrediet: AP

Parents across the country will be familiar with the concept of their children not telling them what they’re up to at any given time.

But this takes it to a whole new level.

Unholy mess

JUST four months after he ran off with the Ukrainian refugee he and his wife took in, Tony Garnett says they’ve split up.

What a shock . . .  said no one. His ex Lorna has told friends: “He has thrown away so much.

Tony Garnett split up with Ukrainian refugee Sofiia Karkadym

Tony Garnett split up with Ukrainian refugee Sofiia KarkadymKrediet: LNP

He can’t see me because of a restraining order and he hasn’t been seeing the children. But it’s hard to feel any sympathy.”

Except, natuurlik, for the poor kids stuck in the middle of this unholy mess.

Caine’s last farewell

SIR Michael Caine, nou 89, has accepted one last film role before he retires.

It’s about a D-Day veteran who does a runner from a nursing home and it’s called The Great Escaper.

Other classics could be given an OAP twist too. The Gums Of Navarone, anyone?