Don’t buy your child a smartphone! Social media could be harmful to young people, Children’s Commissioner warns

  • Parents should not give children a smartphone, says Children’s Commissioner
  • Dame Rachel de Souza warned about the dangers of social media to teenagers
  • Molly Russell, 14, took her own life after being bombarded with suicide content

It is unlikely to make them very popular at home.

But parents should resist buying their children a smartphone – and should instead stick to an old-fashioned device without internet access, the Children’s Commissioner has advised.

Dame Rachel de Souza warned about the dangers of social media, referencing the case of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life after being bombarded with self-harm and suicide content. 

‘I think parents should think long and hard about monitored access to social media or actually access to social media at all,’ she told The Sunday Telegraph. 

‘I do feel strongly that we need to be careful and manage this.’

Dame Rachel also called on ministers to show ‘moral purpose’ and ensure new internet laws, under the long-awaited Online Safety Bill, are passed.

Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza warned about the dangers of social media, referencing the case of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life after being bombarded with self-harm and suicide content

She added: ‘I honestly think that we will look back in 20 years’ time and be absolutely horrified by what we allowed our children to be exposed to.’

Dame Rachel described children’s experience online as ‘the issue of our age’, adding that she supported the proposed Online Safety Bill.

‘We absolutely need to take this once-in-a-generation moment to ensure children are kept safe online and in the online world. Nothing should get in the way of supporting child safety online and getting this Bill back,’ she said.

In 2012, Dame Rachel cofounded the Inspiration Trust, which runs a number schools in East Anglia, becoming one of the youngest chief executives of a multi-academy trust.

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