Molly Russell accessed material from ‘ghetto world online’, investigation says

Schoolgirl Molly Russell had accessed material from the “ghetto online world”, her father said in an investigation.

Ian Russell said his daughter received emails from social media giant Pinterest “promoting depressing content”, including “18 depression pins you might like” and “new ideas for you on depression”.

He said the material his daughter had been exposed to on the internet was “horrible”, adding that he was “definitely surprised at how…readily available” it was on a public platform for people over 13.

At North London Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, Russell questioned how his 14-year-old daughter knew “how to get into this state” before her death, adding: “Whatever steps they (social media companies) have taken ), is clearly not enough.”

Molly Russell’s father, Ian Russell (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Molly, from Harrow, north-west London, is known to have viewed material relating to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide on social media before ending her life in November 2017, leading her family to campaign to improve Internet safety.

Giving evidence from the witness stand, Mr. Russell was taken through his witness statement, which read: “I also looked briefly at Molly’s YouTube account and saw a…pattern: lots of ‘likes’ and ‘follow-ups’ of normal teens, but a similarly high number.” of disturbing posts about anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.

“On the family computer I saw that Molly was still receiving emails after her death from another social media platform, Pinterest.

“I was surprised to see that the subject lines of the emails were clearly promoting depressing content.”

He added: “It’s just the bleakest of worlds. It is not a world that recognizes.

“It’s a ghetto online world.”

Russell said the “algorithms” recommended similar content.

It was carried through a series of social media posts that Molly liked on Instagram before her death, which Oliver Sanders KC described as a “litany of self-loathing.”

Sanders later said that Molly’s saved posts on Pinterest were “romanticizing self-harm”, that it was something for people to “keep to themselves”.

Russell replied: “Absolutely. Even though I’ve seen them before, seeing them again still affects me now. And this is only on September 5. This is only a fraction of what Molly saw on a daily basis.”

Coroner Andrew Walker then asked Russell if it was fair to describe it as “a world of despair”.

Russell replied, “Absolutely.”

Russell added that he searched Instagram again in August this year after Meta made changes, but still found “horrible content”.

The investigation heard that among the “hundreds of regular hookups a teenage girl would have,” there were more than 40 accounts she followed and 10 accounts that followed Molly that “were connected, in some way, to anxiety, depression, self-harm or suicide.” ”.

Russell told the inquest that he and Molly’s mother, Janet, were “definitely shocked at how horrifying, graphic, harmful and concerning that it was being made available on a public platform for people over 13 years of age.”

Per Instagram guidelines, the website requires someone to be at least 13 years old to create an account in some jurisdictions.

Walker went on to speak to the 59-year-old through his witness statement, in which he said he believed Molly’s change in behavior was due to “normal teenage mood swings.”

Giving evidence to the coroner, Mr. Russell confirmed that his statement was correct.

It read: “The entire immediate family noticed a change in Molly’s behavior in the last 12 months of her life.

“Molly became more withdrawn and spent more time alone in her room, but still happily contributed to family life. Molly also found it difficult to fall asleep herself and it seemed that she was often the last to wake up.

“Like most of us, Molly often had her phone with her, even though we had a strict rule at home not to use phones at the dining room table. She used that and her iPod Touch for a wide variety of things.

“I knew Molly had an Instagram account and a Twitter account as I also had accounts on these platforms and we ‘followed’ each other, as did other family members.

“Molly closed her Twitter account that we all followed and it was only after her death that I found out she had opened another Twitter account.

“We talked about the risks of strangers online, not giving personal details, only sharing photos with friends, online bullying, that kind of thing.

“We thought that Molly’s change in behavior in 2017 was just a reflection of normal adolescent mood swings, coinciding with puberty, and while we were concerned, we weren’t overly concerned.

“With the benefit of hindsight, I can remember some cases that didn’t seem so worrisome at the time, but now take on more importance.”

The coroner asked about a conversation the couple had in the months before her death.

The inquest heard that Mr Russell spoke to Molly about how he felt while the pair were driving together in September 2017, but she “ignored him”.

Giving testimony, she said: “I remember talking to Molly and asking her about the concerns we had as parents.

“It was the kind of thing that we might have had with her sisters or other parents would have had with their children all over the world.

“I questioned her…to see if she was open to anything that might concern her.

“She brushed it off and seemed unnerved by the question.”

After telling the court what he had seen when he found his daughter after her death, Mr Russell said: “I thought to myself, how does someone who is 14 know how to get into this state and how does someone who is 14 years know how to get there? end his life so effectively?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.