Even though we seem to live in an increasingly unshockable society, the tragic story of Molly Russell has truly horrified the nation.

Molly, a bright, seemingly happy teenager, brought up in a loving, close-knit family, took her own life aged just 14, after viewing disturbing images of self harm and suicide on social media sites.

Her father has spoken eloquently and movingly about his family's fight to make the social media sites disclose the material Molly was viewing - but only following a request by the coroner investigating Molly's death does this look likely to happen.

In the meantime, how many other young Mollys are there out there - their young and malleable minds being influenced and distorted by the dark material available to them on social media? All too many, it would seem, as a significant number of families who have lost children in similar circumstances to Molly Russell, have also come forward to implicate some social media sites in their children's deaths.

While the internet and social media can be a force for good, clearly there is a Yin to the Yang; and the harmful effect social media is having on the mental health of young people is a cause for grave concern.

This week Ofcom has revealed that one million children have been bullied online - through social media, messaging apps or texting, with one in seven children aged between eight and 11 saying they had encountered something "worrying" or "nasty" online.

What is all this doing to the young minds of our future generations? Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned that some online companies could be banned if they fail to remove harmful content from their sites, but it seems clear that the social media phenomenon is like a multi-headed hydra: close one site down and another five will surely spring up in its place.

Meanwhile, our children are taking to social media in their millions - many of them bypassing the requirements that social media profiles cannot be set up by children under 13.

Ofcom's research reveals that children report they find it "too much effort" to interact with friends and real life, preferring to view YouTube videos. Not surprisingly, there has been a marked drop in the number of young people who enjoy reading, drawing or playing an instrument.

What a sad indictment on society that we are, thanks in no small part to the digital revolution, passively allowing a generation of young people to be twisted by social media - twisted so far that in some tragic cases, such as that of Molly Russell, their lives are ending shockingly, outrageously early.

It is beyond high time that the dark side of social media is brought to light.