The Countess of Wessex has given an interview to Good Housekeeping magazine discussing social media, her patronages, and raising her two teenage children.
In a rare interview, Sophie discussed her work with Childline and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The magazine had followed along as Sophie did a volunteer shift at the Childline offices in June.
“When Esther Rantzen launched Childline in 1986, I was watching the television. It struck me immediately as a brilliant response to a problem that I had no idea was so big,” Sophie said.
“I was shocked by the number of children being abused in this country, coupled with the realisation that they had nowhere to turn for help. I was so impressed with what Childline was attempting to do. But I could not have imagined that, 19 years later, Esther would ask me to become patron.”
Of her work with the NSPCC, the Countess reveals that it was the first patronage handed to her directly from The Queen, in 2016, and that she “accepted the honour immediately.”
She continued, “The NSPCC is one of the UK’s most well-known and respected children’s charities and its name has been familiar to me for as long as I can remember. I am proud that I can support the working being done to prevent child abuse and neglect, and support those who do not have adults that protect them.”
Speaking about her own children, Lady Louise (16) and James, Viscount Severn (12), she spoke about their social media consumption and how she will help them navigate the online world when or if they do begin to use those platforms.
“At the moment, my children aren’t into social media, however, it is here to stay, so it’s important for them to understand it and for us to equip them with the tools to navigate it successfully,” Sophie said. “Again, I think openness is one way families can support their teenagers.”
She continued, “If children feel they can discuss issues and worries with their parents, without fear of them, or their friends, being judged, this may give opportunity to help them with what can be a complex and very pressured area.
“It’s so important that young people have adults in their lives who support and affirm them. Particularly when the virtual world can be, at times, unkind. Young people need to know they can trust someone with a problem, be that a person directly involved in their life or, of course, Childline is always there for them.”