Molly, a 14-year-old girl, did her homework, packed her school bag, and went to sleep. Nobody knows what happened to her during the night but her parents did found her dead in her room the next morning. She COMMITTED SUICIDE. The reason for her suicide was not clear but later when they went through her smartphone and social media, they did find some disturbing and depressing content on her Instagram. She had been following depressing and dark content on the popular social media app.
Her father, Ian, believes that social media especially Instagram was responsible for her daughter’s death. According to him, his daughter was a very enthusiastic and motivated young girl who could never have done something like this. According to him, such dark graphical content and depressed posts might have made her go through suicide. It was a very devastating and depressing time for the family and they blame social media especially Facebook for this because they are the owners of Instagram.
What Does Facebook Say?
On the other hand, upon hearing the news, the Facebook executive said that it was difficult to hear such a devastating story and it must be a depressing event for the family. When he was shown the content on the feed of the girl, he said that they would look at these and take them down as they were against our policies. He said that they would try their best to eliminate such content from our social media platforms because it is not allowed and highly unacceptable by them.
Facebook says that if the social media platforms are being used to call for help, to guide each other, and to create support groups, then it is surely a good thing. But, if the content being uploaded and shared is inducing suicidal thoughts in kids and is giving them the confidence to the kids to commit suicide, then it shouldn’t be allowed and they are working hard to take that down.
Also, advertisement companies have complained that their ads are being shown with the wrong type of content and they didn’t want that. These companies say that they were unaware that their ads were being shown with disturbing images and they want to change that. This has shaken their trust in Facebook and Instagram. Also, these companies have protested against such content being shown on Instagram and Facebook.
Why is There Such Content Available on Instagram?
Instagram says that they only allow such content to make sure people suffering from such issues can share and get help. They don’t allow the posts that glorify self-harming and suicide acts. They appreciate kids sharing their mental health journey and getting support. However, this news has taken this issue to another level and Instagram needs to filter its content and make sure that kids don’t have access to such horrible content that motivates them to take dangerous steps.
Where social media is meant for entertainment for kids, it is doing much more than that. Kids are making friends there, sharing secrets, and doing much more than just having fun. As they spend too much time on the internet, they are learning things and it is affecting their brain. Same way, when they share their grief and issues on the internet, they find so many people doing the same. When they talk to each other, they learn about each other’s stories, and they support each other.
Kids meet a different kinds of people on social media. Some are very supportive and wise with these mental health issues, but few are blunt and share their horrible stories on social media platforms. Kids are innocent and emotional, when they hear about such blunt stories, they get ready to do the things that they would never do. So, technically, social media platforms are giving our kids the courage to take blunt steps.
Should People Share Their Mental Health Stories on Social Media Platforms?
While people might think that these platforms are a better way of sharing things instead of being face-to-face, this is no way of talking about such sensitive issues. There are just a bunch of kids sharing stupid stuff and talking about mental health without any guidance from a professional therapist. Social media platforms should not allow kids to share such sensitive issues and there should be a proper guideline to a professional therapist if such issues arise.
How Should Parents Prevent Such Things from happening to Their kids?
Stories like Molly’s are like a nightmare for the parents and they need to make sure that their kids are not going to make the same mistake. For this purpose, parents need to be sure about the safe use of the internet and social media platforms by the kids. Here are some of the things that parents can do to make sure their kids are not falling into such traps.
- Communicate well with them. If you want them not to turn to the internet whenever they feel sad or depressed, make them believe that you are there for them and you won’t judge them for the way they feel. They should come to their parents if things go wrong rather than seeking comfort in strangers. Follow some positive parenting tips to bond better with your kids.
- Monitoring them is another option that proves to be very beneficial and effective when it comes to protecting them at the right time. You can make sure you know everything they are doing on social media platforms. You can monitor their messaging apps with the help of a monitoring app. You will see where they are sharing depressed thoughts and where they are being exposed to the wrong sort of stuff. You can make the right actions when something like this happens.
But for this purpose, you need a good monitoring app. Mobistealth is the best monitoring and tracking app that can provide you the assistance you require in protecting your kids from the depression that can kill them. You can make sure that their social media activities are not promoting self-harming acts and you can intervene at the right time.
Parents need to make sure they know what is going on with the kids when they are using their smartphones too much. It might seem like only entertainment but in the end when something bad happens, it is not because of the fun.
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