Prince William makes online safety plea after Molly Russell verdict

October 1, 2022 11:12 am

The Prince and Princess of Wales met Ian Russell at a charity event in 2019. [Source: Pool/Reuters via BBC]

Prince William says online safety for young people should be “a prerequisite, not an afterthought” after an inquest into 14-year-old Molly Russell’s death.

A coroner concluded that the teenager from London died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression and the negative effects of online content.

Molly’s father Ian called for urgent changes to make children safer online.

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The prince said: “No parent should ever have to endure what Ian Russell and his family have been through.”

It is unusual for any member of the Royal Family to comment following any legal proceedings – but mental health is a topic on which the new Prince of Wales has campaigned on regularly in the past.

Prince William, who met Mr Russell in November 2019, tweeted: “They have been so incredibly brave. Online safety for our children and young people needs to be a prerequisite, not an afterthought.”

Molly took her own life in 2017, and coroner Andrew Walker said the images of self-harm and suicide she viewed online “shouldn’t have been available for a child to see”.

After the hearing finished on Friday, Mr Russell said: “It’s time to protect our innocent young people instead of allowing [social media] platforms to prioritise their profits by monetising the misery of children.”