Instagram is a great app for sharing images with the world. Unfortunately, inappropriate images promoting self harm and suicide are easily accessible on Instagram, and can have devastating consequences for the well being of our children. 14 year old Molly Russell took her own life in 2017 after viewing images of self harm and suicide on Instagram. In an interview with the Mirror, Molly’s Father Ian said that Instagram “helped kill” his daughter. She had been following Instagram accounts which shared pictures of self harm and suicidal imagery.
Instagram’s plan to block self harm and suicide images isn’t working
Following the tragic death of Molly Russell, the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has committed to blocking all self harm and suicide imagery on Instagram. Although Instagram now contains a lesser amount of inappropriate posts, there are still countless images of self harm and suicide available on the app. By simply searching ‘#suicide’ we came across many images of self harm, suicide and mental health problems. Many of these images were linked to accounts dedicated to uploading posts about suicidal thoughts, self harm and other mental health issues.
We found disturbing images of self harm, including graphic images of young people cutting themselves. One post included a video montage of suicide scenes, self harm, and depressive episodes. The thumbnail of this video was an arm severely scarred from self harm. What was most worrying about this post, was that people seemed to encourage this type of behaviour. One person commented ‘lovely’ on the horrific post.
We came across another image of a young girl showing her stomach holding a sign saying “I deserve this, it’s fine” with multiple scars from self harm, captioned “I am my own cutting board”. This was from an account called ‘depressed_suicidal’ which appears to be dedicated to posting graphic content of suicide and self harm.
Another image posted by ‘Suicidal.thoughts97’ included images of razor blades with words such as ‘sadness’ and ‘failure’ written on them. Other posts in the #suicide search included text-based depressing quotes, such as “I wake up every morning wishing I didn’t”.
It is obvious that Instagram’s attempts to ban this type of content has failed, and unfortunately it is our children who will be affected by this. It is our job as parents to protect them from this type of content and ensure they are not influenced by such imagery. However, trying to control your child’s social media use is often time consuming and difficult. Luckily, we can do it for you! iKydz is a parental control tool which allows you to monitor and control your children’s internet access, block and restrict apps such as Instagram and Facebook, schedule offline times, and much more!
With iKydz award-winning internet controls you can:
• Filter content
• Schedule online access
• Block unsuitable websites and apps
• Apply restrictions to YouTube
• Block or manage access to social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat
• Block and manage online gaming such as Roblox and Fortnite