In the spring of 2016, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, convened a taskforce for the prevention of cyberbullying.
His Royal Foundation's event included participants from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, as well as youth charities, parents and children. The aim was to implement guidelines for online users (see website info below) and to introduce a trial program supporting victims of cyberbullying. The social media firms agreed to make changes to help monitor bullying on their platforms.
At the meeting, William mentioned that through his work on mental health, he'd gotten to know bereaved parents of children and teenagers, and also children who had attempted suicide due to the cruelty inflicted on them via cyberbullying.
"As a parent myself," William said., "I understand the sense of loss and anger of those particular families who have lost children after they were the targets of campaigns of harassment."
Eighteen months later, in November 2017, the Prince announced recommendations for the tech companies, and also the launch of an online code of conduct and website called Stop, Speak, Support.
The goal is to create a safer online space for children and give them resources if they feel threatened or lost. The website is kid-friendly. I recommend that concerned adults let bullied children take a look.
In November 2018, William noted in a BBC interview that although the tech firms from the 2016 conference had agreed to improve their platforms with regard to cyberbullying, they had not done so as yet.
I am very concerned...that on every challenge they face – fake news, extremism, polarization, hate speech, trolling, mental health, privacy, and bullying – our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot. Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good, that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems that they are creating.
He praised the Stop, Speak, Support campaign which is now rolling out to schools across the UK, and said it is just one of the things we should be celebrating.
Let's hope the Prince successfully keeps up the pressure on social media firms.
I, Sheila T., personally believe that, as with everything, social media is a double-edged sword. It can be used "for the good," as in keeping in touch, celebrating milestones, sharing birthday photos and so on, but as we know, can also be used "for the bad," and their CEOs and other leaders need to take responsibility for what they have created.