'It's the Wild West': Brianna Ghey's mum calls for social media ban for under-16s to prevent similar tragedies

4 February 2024, 23:02 | Updated: 4 February 2024, 23:11

Murdered teen Brianna Ghey's mum has called for social media to be banned for under-16s - as she says the internet is 'The Wild West'.
Murdered teen Brianna Ghey's mum has called for social media to be banned for under-16s - as she says the internet is 'The Wild West'. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Chay Quinn

Murdered teen Brianna Ghey's mum has called for social media to be banned for under-16s - as she says the internet is 'The Wild West'.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were both 15 when they killed Brianna, 16, with a hunting knife after luring her to Linear Park, Culcheth, a village near Warrington, Cheshire, on February 11 last year.

Jenkinson had watched videos of torture and murder online.

Read More: 'We are truly sorry': Scarlett Jenkinson's family speak out as teen is sentenced for 'sadistic' killing of Brianna Ghey

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Esther Ghey said: "We'd like a law introduced so that there are mobile phones that are only suitable for under-16s.

"So if you're over 16, you can have an adult phone, but then under the age of 16, you can have a children's phone, which will not have all of the social media apps that are out there now.

The girl and boy who murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey are to be sentenced for murder and publicly named for the first time.
Murdered teen Brianna Ghey's (pictured) mum has called for social media to be banned for under-16s - as she says the internet is 'The Wild West'. Picture: Alamy

"Also to have software that is automatically downloaded on the parents' phone which links to the children's phone, that can highlight key words.

"So if a child is searching the kind of words that Scarlett and Eddie were searching, it will then flag up on the parent's phone."

She said if the searches her daughter's killers had made had been flagged, their parents would have been "able to get some kind of help".

Ms Ghey said her transgender daughter had accessed pro-anorexia and self-harm material online and been "very protective" over her phone, which had caused arguments.

"If she couldn't have accessed the sites, she wouldn't have suffered as much," she said.

Describing the internet as the "Wild West", she said the focus of technology had been on making money rather than "how we protect people or how we can necessarily benefit society".

Sentencing And Naming of The Murderers Of Brianna Ghey
Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were both 15 when they killed Brianna, 16, with a hunting knife after luring her to Linear Park, Culcheth, a village near Warrington, Cheshire, on February 11 last year. Picture: Getty

Speaking about Brianna, Ms Ghey said: "She was absolutely full of life.

"She was such a character, she was really, really outgoing.

"She just, she loved attention. She loved to be on TikTok, she loved having all of the likes that she used to receive and she was the life and soul of the party really.

"Everyone who knew Brianna and anybody who ever met Brianna, would never forget her."

Saying she feels the prison sentences handed to Brianna's killers are correct, Ms Ghey added that she cannot forgive them.

She said: "I don't carry any hate for either of them because hate is such a harmful emotion to the person that's holding that.

"With regards to forgiving them, I think that no, not really."

Ms Ghey said she is willing to meet the mother of Jenkinson, who she described as looking "completely broken" and is enduring an "absolutely horrific time".

Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street
Responding to Ms Ghey's proposals, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the recently passed Online Safety Act had "tools" to tackle the issues raised, including age verification checks for inappropriate material. Picture: Getty

She said: "I also want her to know that I don't blame her for what her child's done."

Ms Ghey added she feels like she failed Brianna. She said: "I think as a parent I am all Brianna had, I was the one who was supposed to look after her. Maybe if I had done things differently she would still be here."

Responding to Ms Ghey's proposals, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the recently passed Online Safety Act had "tools" to tackle the issues raised, including age verification checks for inappropriate material.

She said: "This is a massive piece of legislation, probably quite a leading position that we've taken in really making sure that the platforms are accountable for proper age verification, for inappropriate things being unavailable and inappropriate things, most importantly, not being there.

"What we're looking to do is to go one step further and ban the use of mobile phones in schools."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Daniel Halliday went missing while playing in the water with his brother on June 30.

Body found in the sea confirmed to be 14-year-old Daniel Halliday who was swept away in River Mersey on June 30

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Graziano Di Prima has been sacked by the BBC

Strictly Come Dancing pro 'sacked' after claims of gross misconduct towards former partner Zara McDermott

Prince William will be at the game on Sunday

‘Just one last push’: Prince William’s message to the England team ahead of Euro 2024 final against Spain

The family of the three women who were killed in a crossbow attack have said they are "devastated"

‘We are devastated’, John Hunt and surviving daughter say, after his wife and two daughters killed in crossbow attack

At least 71 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike

‘Dozens killed in air strike on Gaza humanitarian zone’ as Israel says it was targeting Hamas leaders

The Princess of Wales is set to attend the Wimbledon Men's final

Princess of Wales to attend Wimbledon men's singles final in second public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Comedian John Bishop has divided fans after announcing he will be changing the time of his gig on Sunday

Wireless Festival and Comedian John Bishop spark controversy after changing set times for England's Euro 2024 final

Joe Biden has insisted he is staying in the race

Democrat donors ‘withhold $90m unless Biden stands down’ as Obama and Pelosi ‘oppose President’s re-election bid’

Two suitcases with human remains inside were found in Bristol

Armed police arrest man, 34, at train station following discovery of human remains in Bristol and west London

Princess Anne has returned to public duties for the first time since her accident

Princess Anne 'can't remember a single thing' about horse-related accident as she returns to public duties

Tony Blair was among a star-studded guest list at the wedding of the son of India's richest man

Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and wrestling star John Cena among guests at lavish wedding of Asia's richest man

Jay Slater went missing nearly a month ago

Jay Slater ‘looked unwell’ hours before he went missing, says Tenerife nightclub waitress who ‘gave him water’

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter

Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge dismisses manslaughter case against actor after fatal shooting on film set

Police have named 24-year-old Colombian national Yostin Andres Mosquera as suspect

Suspect named in manhunt as more human remains found in flat after two bodies discovered in suitcases in Bristol