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The American berserk

The rise of Donald Trump is a symptom of the decay of a great but exceptionally unhappy nation.

To be at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August 2008 was a little like attending a religious revivalist meeting. Nearly eight years of George W Bush and his toxic friends – the Cheneys and Rumsfelds who dragged America’s international reputation below even where it had been in the depths of the Vietnam War – had left Americans humiliated and baying for something better. In Barack Obama they seemed to have found it, with the added bonus, over 40 years after the civil rights movement supposedly achieved its aims, of proving that one no longer needed to be a white man to lead the most powerful nation on Earth. It was a new dawn: but the day has not been quite so sunlit as was hoped.

In America last week I encountered one person after another who, to different degrees and using different means of expression, had had enough. It appears to be an exceptionally unhappy country: polarised, introspective, angry, disappointed and, above all, fearful. We have seen many representations and manifestations of American angst and rage in recent years: the horrific and depressingly frequent shootings in schools, racially motivated attacks, powder kegs in cities which ignite in confrontations between the police and minorities. Yet all of these, however pernicious, are largely transient for those not directly involved. The sense of grievance dominating this year’s presidential election campaign has cooked more slowly, is more deep-seated, and will require more than simply a new president – of whatever stamp – to appease it.

As far as Americans are concerned, some of the disappointment with the Obama administration must be considered self-inflicted: they have elected a Republican-dominated Congress that has thwarted much of what he sought to do. Yet Obama, too, must bear some blame. His inexperience – he was a one-term senator before securing his party’s nomination eight years ago – has hindered him, in his handling of Congress and of issues alike. His attempt to reform health care met difficulties of implementation unconnected with the visceral opposition of Republicans and, indeed, of some Democrats. His elevated rhetoric has too often preceded a lower reality.

He is perceived to have disengaged from a world in which many Americans of all political persuasions feel their country’s influence could once more be beneficial, if asserted sensibly. But, above all, the Obama years have done little to improve the struggle of tens of millions of Americans who live at a crushing level of poverty and amid a dereliction that shocks many western Europeans who see it.

Perhaps it was inevitable that a country defined by its ability to create opportunity and provide success should, at some point, pause for breath, take stock and ­allow doubt to seep in; and it is right that the foreign policy disasters of the Bush years should cause it to reflect deeply before engaging with the world. But all this has sapped national self-confidence and verve, creating negativity that seeks, and finds, expression in the election campaign and which all the candidates, in their various ways, are trying to reflect or exploit. The mood threatens fundamentally to change America’s politics.

It is hard to believe that in any other ­contest since the civil war, such an outsider as Donald Trump, who has never served in the military or held political office, would have neared the point of securing the nomination of a major political party – and, if he does, that he would have more of a prospect than many would like to imagine of securing the presidency, and with it the so-called leadership of the free world.

That Trump seems to have said things in private which contradict what he has said in public may be reassuring as far as his ­perceived extremism goes, but it says little for his honesty. He refuses to publish his tax returns, which raises questions about his financial probity, already under the spotlight because of the fiasco of the erstwhile Trump University, where students have parted with sums in excess of $40,000 in return for worthless qualifications. There is also speculation that he refuses to publish his returns because he has exaggerated his charitable donations.

More worrying is Trump’s foreign policy, and his access to the nuclear button. The effect on the Middle East of implementing his belligerent ideas for dealing with Isis can only be a matter of anxious conjecture; as must be his potential relations with his fellow narcissist and megalomaniac Vladimir Putin.

However, America’s current state of mind and sense of betrayal by mainstream politicians also account for the enthusiasm shown for the attempt by Bernie Sanders, the self-declared socialist from Vermont, to wrest the Democratic Party’s nomination from Hillary Clinton. Any attempt to equate Sanders with Jeremy Corbyn flatters Corbyn: Sanders is more eloquent, more thoughtful, and infinitely more credible. He looks unlikely to succeed, but his support among younger voters especially demonstrates the growing sense of a need among Americans, as they look ahead, to break a cycle of disappointment and failure. It is interesting that one important part of the senator’s platform – the anathematising of free trade – coincides with an obsession of Trump’s: a political analyst told me he would not be at all surprised if some of Sanders’s supporters voted Trump in the event of Sanders not winning the Democratic nomination.

“After all,” he said, without a trace of humour, “they’re both Democrats.”


Donald Trump’s success seems to rest on two things: his populist appeal, which includes a nod to the xenophobia of America’s less educated masses and plays to their fears more generally, and the fact that although he has dabbled in politics for many years (he donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008, like any good Democrat), he is not a politician. Bernie Sanders shares that with him: although a long-term congressman, he is hardly of the political class as Americans understand it.

As in Britain, it is common and easy in America today to view the political class with contempt. But that has long been the case – covering Bob Dole’s failed campaign to beat Bill Clinton 20 years ago I saw a T-shirt that proclaimed “Death Is No Excuse: Nixon in ’96”. Now, however, the sense of contempt has reached crisis point.

Recent research shows that there has been no improvement in the real wages of working-class and lower-middle-class Americans since the late 1970s; they are below what they were in the late 1960s and early 1970s. America is a country of astonishing wealth, but this is concentrated in the hands of a tiny group among its population of nearly 325 million. Park Avenue and Rodeo Drive are very much the exceptions, not the rule. In New York there seem to be more homeless people on the streets than I remember seeing since the late 1980s. There are large industrial wastelands around many of America’s cities: much has been written about how huge areas of Detroit have been put back to grass, but dereliction afflicts substantial parts of many cities. The country has over $19trn of public debt, and it is hard to see where all the cash is going, other than, as one disaffected Democrat told me, “on the military”. The US spends roughly $598bn a year on defence (3.3 per cent of its GDP in 2015), four times as much as China (1.2 per cent of its GDP last year), seven times as much as Saudi Arabia (12.9 per cent) and ten and a half times as much as the UK (2 per cent).

Other measures of living standards are telling. The 2012 census found that 48 million Americans, or 15.4 per cent of the population, were uninsured for health care. Levels of achievement for school-leavers are lower than in most developed countries, and a lower proportion of Americans graduates from higher education than in comparable nations. Perhaps it is an indication of the national unhappiness, as well as low income, that medical surveys report that 17 per cent of children are obese and 32 per cent overweight. Black and Hispanic students in the US rank the lowest in assessments for maths, science, reading and problem-solving, but American students overall rank poorly internationally. The US is one of only three OECD countries (the other two are Turkey and Israel) that spends more on schools in rich areas than in poor ones.

Housing is the most obvious sign of poverty and decay. In 2013, the government’s department of housing and urban development reported that the average annual income for a resident of a public housing project was $13,370. The proportion of people renting rather than owning is increasing, driving up rents. The level of home ownership is below where it was when Bill Clinton launched a national drive to encourage ownership in the late 1990s, and thanks not least to the effects of the sub-prime crisis related to that policy. Evictions, especially of black and Hispanic families, are on the rise and in many towns the evictions industry – bailiffs, removal men, lawyers – is a major employer. In New York, New Jersey and California, 22 per cent of households spend more than 50 per cent of their pre-tax income on housing. With many people all over the country unable to afford either to rent or to buy, the number of 25-year-olds living with their parents is also rising.

Even travelling around a city as affluent as New York, you see the signs of decay everywhere. A colleague told me of the rats she sees in the street on her way to and from work. The subway stations are dirty and basic. The roads are potholed and infrastructure generally is creaking: the lack, for instance, of a modern public transport link between the city and its main international airport, JFK, is absurd. Many buildings, even in Manhattan, show want of repair. Utilities run inefficiently: a friend’s cooking gas supply in the East Village failed last September and has only just been fixed. The signs of extreme affluence and modernity are ubiquitous, too, which only makes the portents of a decaying civilisation more disturbing.


The widespread poverty is demoralising enough for Americans to witness, but the prevailing mood is driven by something less tangible, and that is fear. As Trump’s remarkably successful campaign seems to have proved, many Americans are fearful of attack by Islamic extremists. His bizarre promise to ban Muslims from the United States may appear entirely ludicrous – and an alleged secret tape recording of him with editorial staff of the New York Times supposedly has him admitting it – yet it has scored a direct hit with millions of his fellow countrymen. So has his proposal to build a wall to stop illegal immigrants entering from Mexico, because so many people in that land of immigrants fear the effect of an unregulated wave of them. And, flowing from that, they fear further extension of those industrial wastelands, with their ruined factories and warehouses, because of the Chinese undercutting them, which is why they like Trump’s threat to provoke a suicidal trade war with China.

There is no simple reason for why things have gone so badly wrong. It is certainly not for want of good intentions. The practicalities of governing so vast a country to deliver standards of living expected in a developed Western nation, even under a federal system spread across 50 states, have perhaps become too much, and create huge scope for corruption and waste. I recall being told by a distinguished Washington journalist during the Clinton years that America was ungovernable and would have to split into four or five separate countries. There is still no sign of that, yet.

Automation threw millions of Americans out of manufacturing and into service industries, if they went into any work at all. The education system fails many of them. With 70 per cent still not holding a passport, their country remains one that understands less about the world than it ought, and learns few lessons from the rest of it. There are pockets of sweetness and light, yet much of America appears to be in a dark and recriminatory cul-de-sac. It sounded ridiculous for Hillary Clinton, on Super Tuesday, to call again for more “love and kindness” in America, but she had a point. It seems more the inclination of many Americans to look first for their enemies rather than their friends.

An American friend talked to me of his country having some sort of collective nervous breakdown. It is tempting to cite that to explain the rise of Donald Trump, but it would be wrong. Many Americans who would like him to win know exactly what they are doing, as do others who, in a different way, wish to break the system by choosing Bernie Sanders. There is a widespread view that the usual solutions will not suffice to put America back on track, and that without some degree of desperate measures the decline of America will become even steeper. The greatest fear of all seems to be fear of the future. 

Simon Heffer is a columnist for the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs

Simon Heffer is a journalist, author and political commentator, who has worked for long stretches at the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. He has written biographies of Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Enoch Powell, and reviews and writes on politics for the New Statesman

This article first appeared in the 10 March 2016 issue of the New Statesman, American Psycho

Mike Lombardo via @moreMiLo
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“I was almost brainwashed by him”: How male YouTubers get away with preying on young fans

A multitude of YouTube stars have been accused of taking advantage of young fans, but little is being done to tackle the problem.

In June, a 24-year-old YouTuber named Austin Jones was charged with two counts of producing images of child abuse. Court documents allege that the internet personality – who has more than half a million subscribers to his YouTube channel – solicited explicit videos from two of his young female fans. According to the criminal complaint, Jones asked one of the teenage girls – known only as Victim B – to dance for him, and said: “Bounce again and smile at the camera while you bounce. And while you bounce, say ‘I’m only 14’ 3 times throughout the video.” Jones has been released on bail and is awaiting trial. Jones’ attorney Gerardo Solon Gutierrez points out that the singer is “innocent until proven guilty”.

A few weeks later, a YouTuber known as Durte Dom was accused of filming a 15-year-old girl from behind while she danced at a party, without her consent. “He filmed my ass dancing,” the girl wrote anonymously on Twitter. Dom responded to the allegations via the social network, writing: “the party was 18+, the girl snuck in. don't fool yourself.” He says he will now “start having people sign release forms” before he films them.

These allegations are not isolated. In 2014, a Tumblr user called Olga accused the YouTuber Tom Milsom of coercing her into sexual activities when she was 15 and he was 21. Milsom did not comment publicly on the accusations and was never charged. Only a month earlier, a YouTube musician, Mike Lombardo, was jailed for five years on child pornography charges after soliciting explicit photographs and videos from 11 of his underage fans. 

These events set off a series of other allegations. Vlogger Alex Day admitted to having “manipulative relationships with women” after 14 women and teenage girls accused him of manipulation and abuse. One anonymous 15-year-old wrote on Tumblr that Day had sex with her knowing she was underage and “didn’t listen to me when I asked to stop”. Day denied any sexual relations with underage girls, and none of his alleged victims pressed charges. Another YouTuber, Ed Blann, admitted in a now-deleted Tumblr post that he “manipulated” an of-age fan into sex even after he was “repeatedly told to stop”. Like Day, Blann never faced any charges, but, also like Day, he apologised for his actions.  

 In September 2014, a 19-year-old woman accused the YouTube prankster Sam Pepper of raping her, and another woman filed a police report accusing him of rape. Pepper denied the accusations, was never arrested and charges were never filed. He did, however, apologise for YouTube pranks that included pinching women’s behinds while wearing a fake hand.

A Tumblr post set up to track emotional and sexual abuse in the YouTube community to date features allegations against 43 YouTubers.


Social media revolutionised the concept of celebrity – and celebrity-fan interactions. YouTubers are both incredibly adored and incredibly accessible. Products they design sell out overnight and their live events fill arenas. At the same time, fans are often just a few clicks away from engaging in private, one-on-one conversations with their heroes.

“I feel like I was kind of blinded to the whole situation, like I was almost brainwashed by him,” says Ashley LaPrade, a 16-year-old who claims that when she was 15, Austin Jones coerced her into creating sexualised videos on the messaging app Kik. She posted screenshots of their conversations on social media after the news of Jones’s arrest broke.

“It was kind of casual at first and he asked me to model his merchandise for him... so I did. I took a couple pictures and I’m a gymnast so I was trying to like impress him and I did like splits and stuff,” she says. She alleges that Jones asked her to film herself from behind while bending down or dancing. “I didn't want to upset him and make him not like me,” she says.

LaPrade explains that as a young 15-year-old fan she “looked up” to Jones and was initially excited by his interest in her. After she began to feel uncomfortable with his requests, they stopped talking, but she continued to listen to his music and go to his concerts. She says that she only realised the severity of his actions after his arrest.

Many young fans like Ashley are initially unable to comprehend that anything wrong – legally or morally – has happened to them. Neesey Pathan is a 20-year-old student and YouTuber who claims she was sexually harassed by Sam Pepper when she was 15. In 2014, she posted a YouTube video of her allegations, showing screenshots of alleged conversations with Pepper in which he asks her to “do a naked a dance” and show him her cleavage.

“As a young naïve 15-year old girl, I just wanted to keep talking to him because I was a huge fan,” Neesey tells me. “When he started to get inappropriate with me, at the time that made me feel uncomfortable but I didn’t understand how serious that was, because of how young I was.

“I wanted him to stop being inappropriate with me but I didn't want him to stop speaking to me.”


Since the concept of celebrity was invented, nefarious individuals have used their fame to manipulate and take sexual advantage of young fans. In the 1970s, Lori Mattix was a “baby groupie” to musicians – alleging in a Thrillist article that she lost her virginity to David Bowie aged just 14. When the guitarist Ted Nugent couldn’t legally marry 17-year-old Pele Massa, he became her guardian instead. Anna Garcia met Prince aged 15 and began a relationship with him aged 17. “I guess it’s kind of a dream to a young girl of 17,” she said in the Nineties. “You can be influenced very easily and stuff like that because he’s 12-13 years older than me.”

It now seems as though a slew of YouTubers have taken advantage of this imbalanced fan-creator relationship, and have deliberately exploited the naivety of their young fans. Ashley and Neesey both claim they were emotionally manipulated.

“I think I put him on this pedestal, which put him in a position to very easily manipulate me and get what he wanted,” says Neesey. “I was just so excited to get to speak to someone who I had looked up to for a long time.”

Ashley claims that when she wouldn’t film increasingly explicit videos for Jones, he treated her coldly. “He went on about how he was in a bad mood now and he didn’t want to talk any more,” she says. “If I did something wrong to him, like if I didn’t blow a kiss or something, then he would make me redo [the video].”

In 2015, Jones was first accused of asking his underage fans to film themselves twerking. In a video entitled “Setting The Record Straight”, he admitted to asking for the twerking videos and said he became suicidal after this news became public. “I’m a pretty insecure person... I began researching different suicide methods. I started planning my suicide. It’s something I was very, very serious about,” he says in the video. 

“A lot of times when we were talking he was talking about how he was going to therapy so I kind of felt bad for him and that’s why I didn't really say anything [to the authorities],” says Ashley.

The American National Domestic Violence Hotline outlines on its website that threatening suicide can be a form of emotional abuse. “If your partner regularly threatens suicide, particularly whenever you’re not doing something he or she wants you to do, or when you’re trying to leave the relationship... this is a form of emotional abuse.”

According to Neesey’s screenshots, Pepper flippantly mentioned he was “suicidal” when she refused to show him her breasts. In Olga’s blogpost about Tom Milsom, she alleges: “he’d like sob and cut himself in front of me he threatened weird suicidal shit a lot”.

“Obviously, if someone is saying to you that they're suicidal, you want to help them, because obviously they don't mean it but as a young person you think they do,” explains Neesey. “And you don't want to be held responsible for them hurting themselves and you maybe care about this person because you’ve been watching them for so long. So you’re manipulated into carrying on contact with them because if you don’t, what will happen...” 


To date, Lombardo is the only YouTuber who has ever been jailed for sexually abusing his fans. There are a multitude of reasons for this. Some victims are too afraid to press charges, fearing backlash from a YouTuber’s fandom. Many victims are unable to see the severity of their abuse until they are older. More still are manipulated into silence. Parents can’t comprehend YouTube stardom, and fail to understand what is happening in their children’s lives. Some victims simply don’t know which authorities to turn to.

“I'm kind of steaming about this whole issue,” says Michelle LaPrade, Ashley’s mother. “I can’t even look at a picture of the guy. It makes me want to punch him.”

At the time, Ashley never told her mother about Jones’s behaviour, but Michelle overheard conversations about it between her daughter and her friends. “I feel like a bad mother. I never even really investigated it. Because I know girls and their drama and you know, [they] overreact sometimes.”

After Jones’s arrest, Michelle wanted to report his interactions with Ashley to the authorities, but she found her local police department unhelpful. “I don't know who to turn to,” she says.

Many more victims are unaware that a crime has even occurred. “When I was 15 I didn't see how problematic it was,” says Neesey. “I knew it was a bit strange, and I did feel uncomfortable, but I didn't realise that he was actually sort of committing a crime in terms of asking a minor, as an adult, to do these things...

“It wouldn't even have crossed my mind to go to the police.”

While the UK has the large-scale Operation Yewtree into sexual abuse by celebrities, there is no equivalent for YouTube. Despite the multitude of allegations spanning half a decade, there is no single helpline or dedicated investigation into YouTube abuse. When questioned on this, a Home Office spokesperson said:

“We cannot allow social media platforms to be looked upon as a safe space for predators to target our children and share indecent images. It is vital that communication service providers have easily identifiable reporting systems for people to flag inappropriate or illegal content – and that they are clear about what is and isn’t allowed on their sites.”

A YouTube spokesperson said: “We have clear policies against harassment and we enforce these policies by removing both flagged content and comments that break our rules as well as terminating the accounts of repeat offenders.”

Sam Pepper is still on YouTube, where his channel has over two million subscribers. Alex Day returned to YouTube in December 2015, and now has over 80,000 subscribers. Austin Jones’s YouTube channel remains live, though he is not allowed to use social media before his trial.


“I feel like it is really hard to be taken seriously,” says Ashley. On social media, people are prone to victim-blaming Ashley and other alleged victims, saying that they should have stopped replying to the YouTubers harassing them. “Yeah, we did send stuff back but it was... we were being pressured into it and we didn't want to upset him or anything like that,” Ashley says. Her mother tells me she is glad Ashley “took the high ground” in not sending overtly sexual videos to Jones.

Unsure which authorities to speak to, many victims turn to social media to discuss their abuse. Accusations play out on Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube itself. Ashley tweeted screenshots of her interactions with Jones, while Neesey created two videos about her conversations with Pepper. Although this is an effective, and unprecedented, way for victims to get their voices heard, many online are distrustful of complaints that didn’t go through the authorities. Many more leave misogynistic and hateful comments.

“People will just be absolutely horrible to you and call you demeaning things... I got called a flirt, I got told it was all my fault because I continued speaking to him...” says Neesey, of the reaction to her videos. “I think that's a lot of the reason why people sometimes don’t come forward, because they don't want to go through all that stress again. They’ve already dealt with the situation; why would they want to deal with the stress of people being horrible to them about it?”

Some commenters criticise Neesey and other victims who have made YouTube videos and claim they were doing so for attention. “No one in their right mind would do it for attention because the attention you get is negative,” Neesey says. “I honestly don’t believe that someone would sit down and accuse someone of doing something if they didn’t mean it. So I really think it should be taken seriously.”

Whether it makes sense to those outside of the community or not, many victims' first recourse is social media, not the police or authorities. The accusations about Durte Dom – the YouTuber who allegedly filmed a 15-year-old dancing – were publicised by another YouTuber, Elijah Daniel, on his Twitter page.

Damon Fizzy is a YouTuber who called out Austin Jones after the initial accusations in 2015, and continues to do so on Twitter now. Although he agreed to speak with me, he was unable to find time to do so over a series of weeks.

For many YouTubers and their victims, social media is more important that the traditional media. Perhaps this makes sense – when the Mail Online covered the arrest of Lombardo, the YouTuber who solicited child abuse images from 11 underage fans, they added inverted commas around the word “star” in their headline. If the media and the authorities can’t take YouTube seriously, how seriously will they take accusations of YouTuber abuse?


In the past, YouTubers have often been good at self-policing. Hank and John Green are American brothers who run the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, which has over three million subscribers. They own a record label, DFTBA, and run the annual YouTube convention VidCon. Lombardo and Day were DFTBA artists, and were dropped from the label after the accusations emerged. The Green brothers also banned Pepper from VidCon.

After the storm of accusations in 2014, an enormous number of popular YouTubers made videos in response. Hank Green explained consent to his audience, while the comedy YouTuber TomSka created a guide to YouTube gatherings. The popular YouTube duo Jack and Dean even made a music video about consent. The community came together to exile those who weren’t being punished in other ways. The subscriber numbers on the accused’s channels dropped dramatically.

Yet within a few months, many disgraced YouTubers can return to the platform to harness a new generation of fans, many of whom might not be aware of the accusations.

“YouTube still allows them to create content and make money off it, and that to me is just communicating that the behaviour is just not that bad. It’s sort of equivalent to a slap on the wrist and it doesn't convey the extremity of the situation of what they’ve done,” says Neesey. “I think they should be completely ostracised from the community, and have their status stripped from them, and I think YouTube should support that. Because they’re criminals.”

On Twitter, YouTuber Damon Fizzy claims he received backlash from Jones’s fans when trying to speak out years ago. “It’s crazy the backlash I received versus now. I was literally treated worse than the person who uses his underage fans for sexual gain,” he wrote.

And it’s true that YouTubers’ leagues of adoring fans can make it difficult to speak out about abuse. It is hard for many adults to understand how consuming being a young fan can be, particularly when manipulation is involved. When I ask both Ashley and Neesey what they would say to young female fans who start talking to YouTubers, they both say this is fine. Neesey warns that when a youngster becomes uncomfortable, they should end communication, but both she and Ashley feel that safe, normal fan-creator interaction is fine, indeed desirable.  

Sapphire Putt is a 20-year-old who claims a YouTuber coerced her into filming videos of herself dancing when she was 16. When I ask if she thinks it would be OK for the YouTuber to return to YouTube, she says she would be “cautious” but “wouldn’t throw the possibility of maybe giving him a chance again”.

“If he actually shows that he’s learned, you know, I would give it a chance and if he would mess it up again then that’s it, you know.”

When I ask Ashley what she would say to people who remain fans of Austin Jones she says: “I’d say that I probably understand... but they also need to understand that what he’s doing isn’t right and no one should be treated the way he is treating people.”


The NSPCC is currently calling for an independent regulator to scrutinise internet companies and fine them if they fail to keep children safe.

“We want the government to draw up a list of minimum standards that internet companies must observe to protect children, and children should be automatically offered safer accounts that protect them from grooming and harmful content,” an NSPCC spokesperson says.

“We know from our Childline service that online sexual exploitation is increasing so it’s vital that more is done to protect young people from abusers who use social media to target and manipulate them.”

For now, Ashley is simply glad things didn’t go further. “It's scary not knowing what could've happened, knowing that I was brainwashed like to believe it was OK, and I'm just happy he's not able to message other girls at this point,” she says.

Neesey hopes that schools will get better at teaching consent. “As a young person, I knew I felt a bit uncomfortable but I just thought that I was being dramatic... so I think people need to be educated, for sure.”  She says education needs to be improved not just in schools, but in the media.

“Unfortunately, people are sort of used to it now, after quite a few YouTubers, so it’s sort of like, ‘Oh another one.' People aren’t talking about it as much – not that it’s old news, but it’s not as shocking. People aren’t giving it as much attention as it needs.”

The NSPCC advises that if a child is worried about an online situation they should talk to a trusted adult or contact Childline on 0800 1111. Parents can find out more about talking to their child about staying safe online by searching Share Aware or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 10 March 2016 issue of the New Statesman, American Psycho