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.
然而, keeping troubled teenagers away from algorithms that feed their obsessions is a battle many 父母 are losing — and it’s a struggle being played out right now at the inquest of 14-year-old Molly Russell.
现在, 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- 观点. But suffice to say, even 苹果 CEO Tim Cook has warned: “Don’t let your kids use 社交媒体” 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.
在美国, 3,000 15- to 18-year-olds a day attempt suicide. 在英国, 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.
是的, 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.
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 凯·亚当斯 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.
“The intensity and the learning curve . . . it’s madness to learn a new skill in that little amount of time.”
它是. And when you’re not a “performer” either, it’s doubly terrifying.
实际上, 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.
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.”
Makes a pleasant change from some of our home-grown luvvies who take any opportunity they can to run it down.
But worse, because “I hated them anyway”, he was subjected to Abba songs on a loop.
One man’s torture, 它似乎, 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, 至少, 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.
“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,“ 他说.
“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”.
你只会玷污所有人的记忆. Is this because his grandmother’s demise has made him reconnect with the importance of 家庭?
Or did he take one look at the overwhelming public response to the 女王’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.
现在, former editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann Wenner, reveals in his memoir that “the tipster was 安吉丽娜（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
But the first his mum and dad knew of it was when they saw a Press photo of the rehearsal.
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.
What a shock . . . said no one. His ex Lorna has told friends: “He has thrown away so much.
“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.”
除了, 当然, for the poor kids stuck in the middle of this unholy mess.
Caine’s last farewell
SIR Michael Caine, 现在 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, 任何人?