A naughty teenager carves into her bloody arm, a suicidal brunette screams into the camera and a girl slices her sweet smile with a sword.
These are just a few of the diseased posts on Instagram that Sun Investigation found in just a few clicks.
This week, devastated father Ian Russell struck the social media giant owned by Facebook for contributing to the suicide of his 14-year-old daughter Molly.
After showing "no obvious signs" of serious mental health problems, Molly was found dead in November 2017.
After her death, her family learned that she had watched numerous Instagram posts that normalized and even romanticized self-harm and suicide.
Mr. Russell from Harrow, northwest of London, said, "We are very interested in alerting people to the harmful and disruptive content that online young people have access to online.
"Not only that, but social media companies are exposing adolescents to more and more malicious content through their algorithms by clicking on a post."
Even a quick search on Instagram confirms Mr. Russell's fears.
And the language that users use on the site is meant to deceive any worried parent who is trying to keep an eye on the well-being of their child.
Hashtags of maiden names used on the site may be harmless, but are shorthand for serious mental health issues.
MATURE TEAS WALLOW IN HAT OF HIS
Ana means anorexia, Annie means fear, Bella means borderline, Sophie means schizophrenia and Sue means suicide.
Amazingly, thousands of images and videos from children's cartoons are used on Instagram to glorify anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal behavior.
There are also plenty of posts that use the hashtag #sadsimpsons, for example. Parents checking their children's search history are probably not worried – but the content is scary.
In a dreary black and white video, a sad Homer Simpson has a noose around his neck, next to the hashtags #hatemyself and #ritzen "- a German word for self-harm.
In another you can see Homer rushing out of a skyscraper.
And in a sick version of AA Milne's beloved book characters, Eeyore's gray body is hung on a tree as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger gaze. The caption says, "I can not believe he killed himself."
And while searches for #selfharm #suicide display a warning screen that prevents users from viewing images, users can simply click "View Images Anyway."
Once inside, an onslaught of bloody images and videos resembling scenes from horror movies jumps out of the page. Apart from the fact that these are all real and many have received dozens of "likes" and appreciative comments.
There are also memes with lyrics with grim, hopeless messages, including: "People told me, 'Kill yourself & # 39 ;. I try it "and" How to kill yourself ".
Advertisers, ISBA, have expressed concerns about displaying ads alongside Instagram posts.
Instagram has more than two million advertisers, including brands like H & M, Deliveroo, Nike, Domino and Sainsbury.
The minimum age for registering with the site is 13 years. However, this can not be enforced. And while Instagram claims to be diligent in removing graphic posts, some of the worst we've seen has been on the market for at least ten days.
The online comments are even more disturbing. Annoyed teens roll themselves into self-hatred and call themselves ugly, fat and unpleasant. A girl wrote under a video of a noose: "I wish I could hang myself up, but I'm so fat I can not even do that."
Under her comment, a poster wrote, "Dying is the answer. People who make fun of you. I tried it and I am 12. Life is bad. "
Many of the contributors write comments that serve to humiliate or even annoy them in a practice called "roasting".
How do you protect your children?
CHILDLINE provides parents with lots of advice and information on how to deal with online issues their children face. It has developed "TEAM" – a four-point strategy that allows you to discuss Internet problems with your children:
- T ALERT your child with what they are doing online and how to play it safe. Let them know that they may come to you or another trusted adult when they feel disturbed or angry by something they have seen.
- E XPLORE the online activities of your child together. Understand why they use specific apps, games, or websites, and make sure they know what steps they can take to protect themselves.
- GREEN your own rules as a family when using websites, apps and games.
- USE your technology and use the available privacy and parental control settings to keep your child safe.
If you are worried that your child might hurt themselves:
- TALK With Your Family Doctor: You can treat your injuries and refer your child to specialists, such as therapists, who work with your child to discuss their thoughts and feelings and how this affects their behavior.
- TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN'S SCHOOL: The person responsible for protecting the children should be able to provide a designated employee whom their child can walk in when they are in a bad mood or want to hurt themselves.
- Tell your child about Childline: Childline's free 24/7 service allows young people to talk with specially trained counselors about the feelings they may feel.
Now, Molly's family is committed to helping social media sites examine content and make it harder for teenagers to view malicious content.
The story of the teenager has significant similarities with the case of Milly Tuomey, 11. Before the youngster from Dublin committed suicide in January 2016, he outlined "gorgeous girls do not eat" in her body before planning to publish detailed diary entries on Instagram to die.
Milly's mother Fiona Tuomey, founder of the Healing Untold Grief Group, told The Sun: "Suicide is a complex issue that can not be attributed to a single factor.
"Social media is an integral part of young people's communication.
"It is time for governments to hold these global companies accountable. Redirecting people to websites is simply not good enough.
"The social media giants have the power and technology to stop this."
The UK has the highest self-harm rate of all countries in Europe – and the majority of those affected are between 11 and 25 years old.
"SEE OTHER SELF-INHIBITORS NORMALIZED IT"
Nicole Simone, 21, a barmaid from Dover, Kent, began to hurt herself at the age of 13, accusing social media of aggravating her mental health problems.
She said, "I follow some really gloomy reports and have looked at self-injurious posts. It only makes my mental condition worse and urges me to want to hurt myself. When other people see themselves injured, they normalize themselves. "
In York, psychology student and anorexicist Talia Sinnott, 21, said: "Instagram only encouraged my negative thoughts and drove my illness to the point of being hospitalized, weighing less than 6.
"I was naive and unaware and came across pro-anorexia sites. They taught me how to cheat on my parents because I thought I was fine.
What does the NSPPCC demand?
The NSPCC Wild West Web Campaign demands that the government regulate social media to make the Internet safe for young people. It will:
- A controller that holds social networks to account
- REPORTS through social networks on the risks on their websites
- FORCE social networks to combat care
Learn more about this link: bit.ly/2HJJyzk
To learn more about the social networks your kids use, visit http://www.o2.co.uk/help/nspcc/social-sharing
Children and adolescents with worries may turn to the Free and Confidential Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 0800 1111 or at childline.org.uk
NSPCC's director of child safety online, Andy Burrows, told The Sun yesterday: "We urge the government to introduce new laws that force social networks to protect children from harmful content and abuse on the Internet, and Impose a penalty on them if they fail. " During the night, Instagram initiated an investigation of The Sun's findings – though a speaker insisted that some of the images might be of benefit to vulnerable users.
She said, "We do not allow content that promotes or enhances eating disorders, self-harm, or suicide, and will remove them.
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"Mental health is a complex issue and we work closely with experts who advise us on how to do it.
"They tell us that sharing a person's mental health or connecting with others who have struggled with similar problems can be an important part of recovery.
"That's why we do not remove certain content, instead we suggest that people who watch or publish them support messaging, which redirects them to groups that can help."