Over the years social media has become an integral tool for many young people, from communication, entertainment and to make a living.
However, the other side of social media has led to unfathomable tragedies. Cyberbullying has become rampant, gory images are available on these sites and the popularization of challenges, as well as the increasing needs for likes and followers, has led to injuries and even deaths.
Now in the United Kingdom, social media firms could be banned if they fail to remove harmful content, the health secretary Matt Hancock has warned.
According to the BBC, the Health Secretary said: “If we think they need to do things they are refusing to do, then we can and we must legislate.” The minister had called on social media giants to remove material promoting self-harm and suicide in the wake of links to a teenager’s suicide.
The BBC report gives a case study of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in 2017 after viewing disturbing content about suicide on social media. Her father said he believed Instagram “helped kill my daughter”.
Instagram responded by saying it works with expert groups who advise them on the “complex” issues of mental health and self-harm.
Molly was found dead in her bedroom in November 2017 after showing “no obvious signs” of severe mental health issues. Her family later found she had been viewing material on social media linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide.
In November 2018, The Sauce reported of a 2018 global study that revealed that the quest to get that perfect selfie killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017.