UK & World News
Tallulah: Train Death Teen's Mum In Warning
The mother of a talented young dancer who died after being hit by a train has warned parents over the dangers of the "toxic digital world".
Tallulah Wilson from West Hampstead, northwest London, became so obsessed by the internet that she created a fantasy cocaine-taking character in a bid to escape reality, St Pancras Coroner's Court heard.
The inquest jury said as they revealed their conclusions on the 15-year-old's death: "This case has highlighted the importance of online life for young people.
"We all have a responsibility to gain better understanding of this. This is a particular challenge for healthcare professionals and educators."
Tallulah's mother Sarah issued a statement in which she singled out social networking site Tumblr. It has since said it is "committed" to acting on self-harm content.
Mrs Wilson said: "Our lives will never be the same without Tallulah.
"We have lost someone more precious than words could ever say - a beautiful, loving and talented shining star has been stolen from our skies."
She said that like any parent she tried to protect her daughter, seeking help from professionals at her school and in the health sector.
"Her sisters and I did everything we could to keep her safe, but she had fallen into a world of nightmares," she said.
"She was in the clutches of a toxic digital world where in the final few weeks we could no longer reach her."
Mrs Wilson said she was "shocked by the ease with which Tallulah and other children can access online self-harm and suicide blogs."
"Tallulah entered a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became blurred. It is every parent's worst nightmare.
"I believe the likes of Tumblr should do more to protect other vulnerable young people from the insidious aspects of the internet; they need to take an active role in policing and swiftly removing unsuitable material as some sites already do.
"I appeal to big brands to withdraw their advertising from those sites who continue to host inappropriate self-harming and suicide-promoting blogs to stop this poison spreading.
"My family has suffered an irretrievable loss and would now appreciate some time to reflect and come to terms with a world eclipsed without Tallulah, but every parent needs to be aware of the dangers of the internet and what their children may be viewing online."
A spokeswoman for Tumblr said: "Tallulah Wilson and her family are in the thoughts of Tumblr and its employees.
"Issues of depression and self-harm are extremely challenging, particularly in online environments that encourage self-expression.
"Tumblr has policies to address the most harmful of this content, and we have systems in place to direct users to appropriate resources for getting whatever help they may need.
"We are committed to continually improving our ability to act on self-harm content, and also to keeping Tumblr a positive, supportive environment for those individuals dealing with issues of depression and self-harm."
Anna Thwaites, the family's solicitor, from Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, said: "This is a tragic case. More needs to be done regarding the perils of the internet and the impact this has on our children."
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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