Plea for ‘cyber nanny’ software after suicide

A CORONER is to write to the UK government asking it to install “cyber nanny” software on computers supplied to children for educational reasons after the suicide of a schoolgirl who used her council-supplied computer to contact an older man via social networking sites.

Dr Emma Carlyon said she would write to the Department for Education requesting that software installed on machines used on the Not School e-learning system in Cornwall after the death of Simone Grice, 15, to be installed on computers used elsewhere in the country.

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The inquest into her death heard police evidence that the home-schooled girl, who threw herself 150 feet off a road viaduct in July 2009, had used an Apple computer given to her by the local council to contact an older man.

The computer, part of a £5,000 package of equipment she was given for online learning, was not installed with any devices to block access to social network sites like Facebook.

Dr Carlyon, passing a verdict of suicide, said: “Care should be taken to ensure that adequate safeguards (eg cyber-nannying) are installed to prevent users from accessing inappropriate and potentially harmful sites which potentially could expose the child to risk.”