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EDP says: Social media giants must act over videos on suicide

PUBLISHED: 13:17 02 February 2019

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has hit out at Greater Anglia. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has hit out at Greater Anglia. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

It is clear that over the past decades innovation has led to giant leaps in digital technology – now more than ever we are using the internet and interacting online to enrich our lives and to make meaningful connections.

But the tragic death of Claudiu Cristea serves as a stark reminder of how dangerous social media can be.

Any death of a young person is devastating, but even more so when it could be argued it could be stopped – and the parallels between the videos Claudiu watched and how he died are clear.

It has led to the coroner echoing concerns raised by the health secretary Matt Hancock this week, who said he was determined to tackle content that leads to self-harm.

Of course it is a difficult tightrope to walk – charities and campaigners say these posts can be a valuable tool to recovery.

But it is right that Mr Hancock is demanding these changes. It just is not worth our children’s lives.

Parents often feel powerless over what their children look at online, regardless of whether that content is innocent or has more sinister undertones.

But that does not have to be the case.

These social media giants, who profit from our usage, have a responsibility to keep users safe, especially when they are children.

Of course some responsibility also lies with parents and carers.

Adults should talk to children about social media and their mental health – and it is a welcome move that it will be addressed in school PSHE lessons.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has called for social media companies to be regulated by a watchdog. It seems inevitable this will be the case eventually, but the problem is how.

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