MISS England Alisha Cowie has disclosed how sick images on Instagram drove her to self-harming and thoughts of suicide. After being relentlessly bullied at school, Alisha became anorexic when she was 13.
But when she looked for help online she was lured towards internet images “glamorizing” self-harm.
It was only the shocking death of her best pal that saved her.
Alisha has spoken out for the first time about her ordeal to try to help others.
She said: “For young girls like I was, going on social media looking for help for something like anorexia can be so destructive. I believe Instagram now has controls, so if there is a graphic image a warning sign will pop up. But you can still click on it.
“These images need to be completely blocked. They don’t help anyone. They just ruin lives.
“Within a week of coming across self-harming images I started doing it too. It’s crazy what children are being exposed to on Instagram.
Alisha’s call came after Mr Hancock warned that social media firms could be banned if they fail to remove harmful content.
He spoke as it emerged 14-year-old Molly Russell took her own life in 2017 after viewing content about suicide online. Her dad Ian said Instagram had “helped kill my daughter”.
Alisha knows only too well how easy it would have been for a vulnerable girl like Molly with mental health issues to be influenced.
She added: “Back then I didn’t know I was ill, so when you see these sorts of things on Instagram you don’t realise they are wrong – and it can start this downward spiral.”