During this week from 14-20 November, is anti-bullying week. Fighting all forms of bullying has been a major concern of The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. It is an area of the Duke’s work he is passionate about. Most notably, he is concerned with ending cyber bullying.
He started the discussion by creating a taskforce in April of this year to create an effective response to end bullying, particularly on social media where many young people experience it. On social media, the impact of bullying is immediate and can be magnified, causing long-term mental health issues if not addressed.
A spokesman from Kensington Palace initially said of this taskforce, “This is an issue that The Duke feels strongly about. He knows that social media and other technologies are creating significant positive opportunities for millions of young people. But as a parent, he knows that many people worry about how to protect their children from the new avenues for bullying that technology is creating. He hopes the taskforce can help the industry share the best practice that is emerging across the sector and put in place new standards so that the internet remains something young people and their parents can embrace with confidence.”
He has spoken out against cyber-bullying in such places as the Founders Forum in London in June of this year. Also during this past year, he has met with several organisations who work to tackle bullying. One such organisation is The Diana Award. The Duke has also addressed the importance of making it easier for children to talk about their experiences of being bullied and how they might receive help along with their parents.
At the Forum, he said: “There is one issue that I want to ask for your assistance and energy, to help turn from a worrying challenge to an exciting opportunity – and that is how we protect children online. Children and young people use the Internet more than almost any of us but are too young, inexperienced or lacking in the maturity of adults to make the right judgments about what is and what is not safe.
The particular issue that I ask for your help to tackle is bullying. From a young age, I have detested bullying in all its forms.
As Catherine and I started our family a few years ago, 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.
What we were seeing was that social media and messaging had transformed bullying from something that was not only the torment of the classroom and playground but something that followed you home as well – to the one safe haven that children should have.
I have to admit that, at first, I worried that technology companies might not be doing enough on this issue.
But as I looked into this more, I realised that technology was also doing something positive. It was bringing the quiet and often hidden tragedy of bullying into the open where we could finally see it.
To school-age children today, there is no difference between their online and offline lives. Bullying is bullying, wherever it happens.
But now – thanks to the transparency that technology brings – we have the opportunities for others – friends, teachers, even strangers – to intervene; to speak up for the victims and to speak out against the bullies. Digital technology is creating new opportunities for positive and encouraging stories to be shared and to let vulnerable people know that they are not alone.”