THE devastated mum of a girl who killed herself after being “bullied” online today begged other parents to protect their kids from the deadly dangers of social media.
Jessica Scatterson, 12, was found hanged in her bedroom with ‘RIP’ scrawled on her foot in April 2017.
An inquest heard she had exchanged “unpleasant” messages and photos with school pals and uploaded posts referring to suicide in the days before her death.
The inquest also heard how just weeks before her death, Jessica, who was living with her dad following a custody dispute, said she was being bullied “for not having a mother”
Speaking to the Sun Online her heartbroken mum Rachael Warburton said it was “far too easy” for children to access self-harming content on social media.
Backing our You’re Not Alone suicide prevention campaign, she made a desperate plea for parents to be more involved in what their children are looking at online.
She said: “It’s really scary what children can access on the internet and I don’t want another child to take their own life.”
Jessica, was an underage user of social media sites, which have a minimum age of 13.
Rachael said: “The Government and internet providers should block these sites and make it harder for children to access them.
“It is still the parents’ responsibility to supervise their children’s online activity… but any help from schools, government and internet providers would help.”
An inquest last week heard how Jessica had “felt emotionally overwhelmed” when she hanged herself in April 2017.
The coroner said “the level and the intensity of her activity on social media platforms… cannot have failed to have influenced her intentions”.
The inquest heard she had been tormented by school bullies and was struggling to cope with the pressures of social media.
In the hours before her death she had written RIP on her foot and posted it online, along with a list of reasons why she should kill herself.
Frantic friends saw the posts and called cops who raced around to the house she shared with her dad where she was found hanging.
Emergency crews battled to save her life, but tragically she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brave Rachael decided to speak up on the subject of her daughter’s death to support The Sun Online’s You’re Not Alone campaign, which aims to break down the stigma of mental health issues.
She said: “Suicide is a big problem and needs to be discussed. I fully support this campaign.”
Rachael told the Sun Online how her world fell apart the moment she answered the door to two cops who informed her that her daughter had taken her own life.
She said: “Officers knocked on the door and said that Jessica had passed away in the middle of night.
“I thought she must have died in a car accident but when they said she had hanged herself I was heartbroken.”
Rachael, 33, is separated from Jessica’s dad Christopher, 41, who had full custody of the 12-year-old following a court battle.
Although the mother and daughter initially met up a lot, contact became much more difficult leaving the pair to speak to each other through letters and social media.
Rachael did see her daughter just weeks before the tragic incident, where Jessica told her other children had been bullying her for “not having a mother”.
The mum-of-three recalled how the next time she saw Jessica was when she had to formally identify her child’s body at hospital.
She said: “It was like another level of torture making me identify Jessica’s body.
“I touched her face and they gave me a memory box which contained her hand and foot prints and a lock of her hair”.
The heartbroken mum added: “Within hours I was receiving messages that Jessica had posted a letter on social media listing six reasons to die.
“I was devastated. I didn’t understand why she would have done this.”
Rachael described her daughter as a natural performer who dreamed of being a dancer when she was older.
“She was a barrel of laughs,” she recalled. “She was very creative and clever and always making things.
“We used to go horse riding every weekend”.
Rachael said: “She was just really funny, really active. She was an amazing dancer and wanted to be a dancer.”
The 33-year-old fondly remembered how her fun-loving daughter put toilet roll in her shoes when they went to a theme park for her birthday so she could ride the rollercoasters as she was “an inch too small”.
Rachael said she wanted people to stop blaming Jessica’s death on her friends.
She said: “They just had silly little arguments about wearing socks with bows on them that someone else wanted to wear that day or saying someone looked fat.
“It was just tit for tat.”
A spokesman for Instagram said: “Our thoughts go to Jessica’s family and anyone affected by suicide or self-harm. The safety of the young people who use Instagram is our top priority.
“Our policies have never allowed content that encourages or promotes suicide or self harm and as part of an ongoing review we recently made updates to no longer allow graphic self-harm content, such as cutting, in any circumstance.
“We will remove content of this kind as soon as we are made aware of it – through a combination of in app reporting and proactive technologies we use to detect it.
“There is also no place for bullying on Instagram and we continue to invest heavily in in-app features such as automatic comment filtering to ensure everyone on Instagram has a positive experience.
“We know there’s more that we can do to support the most vulnerable people who use Instagram and we are committed to working with experts and the wider industry to find more ways to do that.”
A Snapchat spokesman said: “We do not tolerate bullying, harassment and intimidating behaviour on Snapchat and we work hard to combat this type of behaviour on the platform.”
Jessica’s death came just seven months before 14-year-old schoolgirl Molly Russell took her own life after viewing suicide and self-harm posts on social media.
After her death, Molly’s family discovered she had been “suggested” disturbing posts on Instagram and Pinterest about anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.