Mum of child beaten in park backs calls for crackdown on social media giants who share violent clips

Angela and Abbie pictured a week after the horrific attack
Angela and Abbie pictured a week after the horrific attack -Credit:Daily Record

The mum of an autistic child beaten unconscious in a park has backed calls for a crackdown on tech giants who share violent online clips.

Abbie Jarvis was just 12-years-old when other kids filmed her being brutally assaulted in Glasgow in October 2021. Disturbing footage of the attack was shared online and is still being circulated on Instagram today.

Abbie’s mum Angela, 44, is now supporting new plans published by media regulator Ofcom, demanding that social media firms stop showing harmful content to kids.

Abbie was hospitalised for two days
Abbie was hospitalised for two days -Credit:Daily Record

The Children’s Safety Code of Practice states that sites should minimise children’s exposure to violent, hateful and abusive material, including online bullying.

Angela told the Record: “It is about time a watchdog spoke up for our kids and I welcome Ofcom’s calls.

“These trends are already causing suicides and deaths so if it isn’t stopped soon, it’s only going to get worse.

“The more violence children and young people become exposed to, the worse it gets and the more desensitised they become to it.

“This could stop the culture of violence being so popular and normalised among kids who are using these platforms.”

It comes after the Daily Record launched its Our Kids ... Our Future campaign in February 2023 following a series of horrific attacks on young people in Scotland.

Many of the violent incidents we reported on were filmed and uploaded to sites such as TikTok, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

A key demand of our campaign calls on tech companies to enforce policies on tackling harmful content such as videos of young people attacking others.

Child experts previously told the Record that teenagers filming themselves taking part in violent acts are being fuelled by a desire for “likes and popularity”.

Abbie in hospital
Abbie in hospital -Credit:Daily Record

Angela said that Ofcom’s new guidelines could help tackle this trend and help kids like Abbie to move on with their lives without having to relive their trauma.

She continued: “You are what you watch, read and think and if you are constantly exposed to violence then you tend to become drawn to it.

“So this would prevent kids from wanting to share these horrific clips to grow their online presence and status and if we can stop the culture of fame through violence then there will be a massive knock-on effect from it.

“Victims like Abbie will be able to walk around without shame and fear because the victims of the violence we see in these posts suffer a great deal from having their attacks broadcasted online. They are basically reliving the trauma of their assaults.

“If social media platforms follow this guidance, it could change our society and the lives of our young people for the better.”

Ofcom’s new guidelines, expected to be finalised in summer 2025, also call for a crackdown on content promoting dangerous challenges, relating to suicide, eating disorders and porn.

The code of practice will set out more than 40 measures for tech companies including robust age-checks to manage the content kids are accessing.

Popular social media sites and search engines will be given three months to assess the guidance and make plans to implement the measures in order to meet the duties enshrined in the Online Safety Act.

Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “We want children to enjoy life online, but for too long, their experiences have been blighted by seriously harmful content which they can’t avoid or control.

“Many parents share feelings of frustration and worry about how to keep their children safe. That must change.”

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.