Having children can open your eyes to conditions and events that may have before passed your notice. Many people have commented on how parenthood has changed their perspective of the world and helped them to reassess their priorities. Seemingly, Prince William is not to be an exception to this anecdote.
Speaking recently to the Founders Forum conference in Watford, His Royal Highness has issued a general call to arms against cyber bullying and harassment of young people via the internet and social media to the investors, developers and online companies present at the conference. After a lighthearted warning not to spoil the results of the England vs. Wales football match that was taking place the same day, Prince William discussed how widespread and essential communications technology has become within the past fifteen years, and how this has brought into public debate their potential use for more subversive activities and interactions, such as extremism, invasion of privacy, and security of personal data. In particular, it’s capacity for new and increasingly invasive means of harassing and bullying one’s peers.
While stressing that he believed technology to be a force for good and believed that the consequences of it to be more beneficial than harmful, he never the less felt it necessary to use the opportunity to speak out against bullying.
“As Catherine and I started our family a few years ago,” Prince William stated, “I was alarmed about the increasing reports of online bullying that were making headlines around the world.
“From the girls developing eating disorders after being subjected to a campaign of abuse on social media, to the teenage boys who took their own lives following constant targeting – as a parent myself, I was appalled.”
As well as introducing his new anti-cyber bullying task force that had just held its first meeting last week, The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, Prince William called for ideas, support and engagement with the issue of bullying online. During the speech, he pointed out that the internet, smartphones, and social networking sites are still relatively new innovations, the implications of which are still not really understood by the world today. Children are growing up as natives to the internet, as opposed to the slightly older generations who came to it later in their lives and have thus few places of support when encountering new dangers or challenges in the new media. It is Prince William’s hope that, through his new task force and the assistance of those directly developing social media today, further support can be given to those who truly need it.
Prince William was invited to speak at the Founders Forum by its co-founder, Brent Hoberman. Hoberman is also the chairman of Prince William’s new task force.