Esther Ghey, the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey, has expressed her willingness to speak with the mother of one of her daughter’s killers, Scarlett Jenkinson. In an interview with Laura Kuenssberg on her Sunday show, Esther stated that she does not blame Jenkinson’s mother for the tragic incident.
Esther expressed her desire to understand the life and experiences of her daughter’s killer. She empathized with the challenges of parenting in the digital age, acknowledging the difficulty in monitoring children’s online activities.
Jenkinson, along with Eddie Ratcliffe, had plotted Brianna’s murder using messaging apps and had been exposed to violent and torturous content on the dark web. Esther reflected on the incident, stating that she wished she had done things differently.
Esther is advocating for the government to limit children’s access to social media apps on smartphones, referring to the internet as the “Wild West”. She believes it is nearly impossible for parents to monitor what their children are viewing online.
She is launching a petition demanding changes that would require companies to alert parents when their children search for inappropriate material online. She also suggests the introduction of mobile phones specifically designed for under-16s, which would exclude social media apps and include software that flags certain keywords to parents.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Labour’s shadow science, innovation and technology secretary Peter Kyle, and Esther Ghey were guests on this week’s show. Keegan described the government’s plan to ban mobile phones in schools as “radical”, while Kyle emphasized the need for legislation to protect young people from the dark web.
Esther also revealed that her daughter had accessed pro-anorexia and self-harm material online, which led to numerous arguments over phone usage. She believes that if such sites were inaccessible, her daughter would not have suffered as much.
She criticized tech companies for prioritizing profit over user safety and called for “greed” to be removed from the equation. She also expressed her admiration for bereaved American parents who confronted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a US Senate hearing.
The story of Brianna Ghey’s murder and the subsequent trial can be found on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.