Coroner warns social media is ‘normalising’ self-harm
Coroner warns social media is ‘normalising self-harm’ after a schoolboy, 13, hanged himself in his bedroom after watching disturbing suicide videos online
- Coroner warns social media is ‘normalising’ self-harm after death of 13-year-old
- Schoolboy Bradley Trevarthen hanged himself in bedroom on January 10 2018
- ‘Avid gamer’ from Durrington had watched self-harm and suicide videos online
- Coroner David Ridley blamed ‘availability and access’ to footage on the internet
A coroner has warned of social media ‘normalising’ self-harm following the death of a ‘gifted’ 13-year-old boy who hanged himself in his bedroom.
Bradley Trevarthen ‘had become fascinated with the concept of suicide and self-harming’ before his death on January 10, last year, an inquest heard.
An ‘avid gamer’ from Durrington, Wiltshire, he became more depressed and withdrawn in the days leading up to his death, and had talked to his friends about killing himself, as well as watching videos of suicide online.
His father Jamie, 42, a former British Army officer, said he was close to his son and didn’t see the death coming.
A coroner has warned of social media ‘normalising’ self-harm following the death of a 13-year-old schoolboy who hanged himself in his bedroom
Coroner David Ridley blamed ‘availability and access’ to internet videos that normalise self-harm, warning that parents weren’t necessarily aware of the dangers.
Recording accidental death by hanging, Mr Ridley said: ‘What concerns me about Brad’s case and the way children and young people talk about social matters is the availability and access to material on the internet it almost normalises something that is not normal.
‘This is an issue in terms of accessing the internet. I think it is a problem, it is too easy.
‘Also there is an issue in relation to making parents aware. I think a lot more could be done. The trouble is it is such a vast, changing environment that we live in. It is very difficult to catch up.’
Bradley Trevarthen, an ‘avid gamer’ from Durrington in Wiltshire, had watched self-harm and suicide videos online as well as becoming more depressed and withdrawn in the days leading up to his death
Mr Trevarthen, 42, said parents should treat their children as ‘responsible people’, and talk about who they are talking to online with them.
He said: ‘The coroner did say he had a 13-year-old son himself so Bradley’s death and this cause was quite close to his heart.
‘I didn’t see it coming. Bradley had a cold around Christmas and was a bit down in the dumps, which I put down to the fact he was ill.
‘He used to spend a lot of time on an evening chatting to his friends online.
‘Nowadays kids seem to spend their lives in bedrooms, chatting online while playing games. When I was young you’d go out, knock on your friends doors and play outside.
‘Parents should take an interest in the people their children are talking to online, and make sure it’s a safe environment.’
He also said Bradley used voice recording and text chat app Discord to talk to friends while he was gaming.
He continued: ‘The coroner said his own son used a lot of similar websites to Bradley.
‘You don’t know what goes on in these chats – you can log in and take a look but kids can delete their history if they want to.
‘Bradley was very sensitive as a child and he was a perfectionist – I can see him playing a team game, and if he didn’t do something quite right, kids can be quite ruthless.
‘Parents need to try and talk to their children as human beings and not assume that everything is all hunky-dory.
‘I don’t want to scare every parent out there, but I was very, very close to Bradley, we talked quite a lot, but he kept this private.
‘Bradley was a very pleasant child and very gifted. He was the most talented mathematician in his school, he was a genius really.’
He added Bradley had achieved a merit award in national maths competition the Junior Mathematical Olympiad.
Following the tragic death, Mr Trevarthen, along with his wife, Jenna Trevarthen, 35, who was a dental nurse in the army and Bradley’s sister Eva, 10, moved to Bodmin, Cornwall, earlier this year.
Today Mr Trevarthen, along with his father, Michael Trevarthen, 60, will walk a 13-mile ‘Bodmin Tors Challenge’ to raise money for young suicide prevention charity Papyrus in memory of his son. They have so far raised £1,800.
Mr Ridley will write to minister for digital and creative industries Margot James about the issue of children being exposed to suicide and self harm online.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details.
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