A mourning mum is trying to close down “evil” suicide websites after her daughter took her own life just feet away in her apartment.
Last year, Shawn Shatto, 25, poisoned herself and blogged her final moments live in a “pro-choice” community full of people who prompted her to die.
Mum Jackie, from Pennsylvania, USA, claims she has been the target of web sites where users post suicide strategies and advice instead of looking for help on how to stop raising the alarm.
Shawn consumed a radioactive substance as her mom worked in another room, egged on by the other forum members who, sickly, wished her “safe travels”
Her last message was Just took it I’m f***ing terrified.”
On her bedroom floor, Jackie found Shawn “blue and cold” and at first feared a heart attack or aneurysm. When she saw the messages on her phone, however, she knew that her daughter had died by herself.
For several years, the “beautiful” Amazon employee was humiliated at school and suffering from anxiety, with her mental health taking a turn for the worse in April 2019.
Shawn entered the suicide group during this time. Reportedly, it does not require accessing the dark network or other special apps.
She died only a few weeks later.
Jackie says the website and those like it is “predatory” and need to be shut down to save lives, especially with millions coping during lockdown with their mental health.
“Shawn was talking with them live,” Jackie told The Sun.
She said Because my mom is just down the hall from me, I feel terrible.’ I’ve been here all the time, just out here, working.
Someone said their only fear was that I would call for help if I found anything and it would not work. That was their only preoccupation.
“No one said, ‘maybe you should go talk to your mum before you do this’.”
The forum used by Shawn identifies itself as a “pro-choice” group that not encourage, promote, advise, suggest, nor aid suicide in any way or form”
It notes that it respects the “right to end” their lives, saying “there is information on this site that if used could kill you”
It has 15,000 fans and almost 50,000 threads online.
Crazy users have inspired others to film their suicide attempts, and through a line along their usernames, accounts that have been checked as dead are seen.
The Sun notes that a 23-year-old from Leeds died after visiting the same forum as Shawn in April this year.
Jackie claims children are particularly at risk from the sites saying that some people inquire whether they should just be sternly told not to “should tell my parents”
“They tell you what to say to make your parents think you’re OK,” she added, adding that she knows that if it weren’t for the website, Shawn would still be alive.
In the UK, the Internet Harms Bill of the Government asks for an independent authority to keep tech companies responsible for their websites for neglecting child welfare, which may suggest heavy penalties for hazardous content.
But Jackie wants the forum and anything like it to be absolutely taken down from the network.
“I’ll never be the same after this, but I have to fight for Shawn, my other kids, and for every kid out there,” she said.