When you become a parent, you automatically start thinking about your kids’ safety. From putting them to sleep on their back to making sure their car seats are correctly installed (then teaching them about fire safety and stranger danger when they get older), protecting kids is a full-time job. And even though Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle’s kids are young, the royal parents are working hard to make sure the online world is safe for Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 11 months, and the next generation of kids.
On May 16, the Duke of Sussex joined the 5Rights Foundation in a Global Child Online Safety Toolkit webinar.
“As parents, my wife and I are concerned about the next generation growing up in a world where they are treated as digital experiments for companies to make money and where things like hatred and harm are somehow normalized,” he said in the webinar, per People. “We want our children and all children to feel empowered to speak up.”
The Child Safety Online Toolkit “provides functional guidance so policymakers can enshrine child online safety into law and practice.” It includes international guidelines and agreements into one consolidated toolkit.
Prince Harry added that he knows he can’t keep his kids offline forever. “My two little ones are still at their age of innocence,” he said. “Sometimes I feel like I can keep them away from the online harm that they could face in the future forever, but I’m learning to know better.”
He believes social media “needs to be fixed,” as it is designed to “pull us in, keep us scrolling, get us angry or anxious — or make us numb to the world around us.” Harry said in the webinar, “I’m not an expert on law or technology, but I am a father — and I’m lucky enough to be a father with a platform. My kids are too young to have experienced the online world yet, and I hope they never have to experience it as it exists now. No kid should have to.”
The Telegraph also posted a short clip of Prince Harry’s talk to YouTube.
In an interview with Fast Company in Jan. 2021, Prince Harry said, “We can call for digital reform and debate how that happens and what it looks like, but it’s also on each of us to take a more critical eye to our own relationship with technology and media.” He recommended setting time limits on social media to “stop yourself from endlessly scrolling,” as well as “fact-check the source and research the information you see, and commit to taking a more compassionate approach and tone when you post or comment.”
The Duke and Duchess’s Archewell Foundation has worked with Center for Humane Technology, the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, and other groups to change the way we think about technology. “I believe we can begin to make our digital world healthier, more compassionate, more inclusive, and trustworthy,” Prince Harry told Fast Company.
On March 30, 2020, the couple announced a departure from social media on their joint Instagram account. “As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute,” they wrote. “While you may not see us here, the work continues.”
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)
Online safety is important, and we love that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are working hard to make this a safer space for the future.
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