Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia attended a symposium titled “How we want adults to talk with us about the Internet” at the Royal Palace in Stockholm yesterday, September 7, as part of their work with cyberbullying through their Prince Couple’s Foundation.
The symposium was a collaboration between the Prince Couple’s Foundation and Brisbane (which focuses on children’s rights as well as a helpline for adults) and invited children and young people from Kista Primary and Vaasa Real (two local schools).
The young people and adults discussed what is happening in the world and in society, why there is hatred, and how racism has manifested itself throughout history. The young people also suggested that adults need to be curious but also respect the children and young people’s privacy.
Carl Philip and Sofia gave a joint speech (the speech was in Swedish and has been translated by Google Translate, as always please forgive any wonky wording).
“Today we live our lives more and more online. All platforms and social media have become a part of our daily lives and provide fantastic opportunities! There you can explore your interests and identity. You build new friendships and you can know that you are not alone with feelings and thoughts that feel heavy and difficult. Online, you can be who you are and want to be.
“The Internet is fun, exciting and rewarding on so many levels. But every coin has two sides. And the back of this coin, yes, we know, unfortunately, all too well. We see it in the comment fields, blogs and social media. In a harsh tone in which all shades missing. The hatred and threats that have become part of our everyday lives.
“Periodically we read the terrible news about children and young people, who have had their lives ruined by bullying, persecution and humiliation online. Which in some cases ultimately not been able to live longer.
“And yet – it is so easy to close your eyes. Simply scroll on. So we can not have that. So we do not want it. It is not enough just to shout that “someone” had to do something. The responsibility is ours together.
“It is against this background that Prince Carl Philip and I have chosen to focus the work of our foundation to combat bullying, and to ensure that all children and young people should have the right and opportunity to be themselves.”
Carl Philip said:
“We must realize that online is not a place alongside real life. That’s where many of you live a large part of your social life. We understand that many adults think that it is just to say stop, that they should delete their social media. Then the problem disappears. But it’s more complicated than that. Today, it’s like turning down important parts of your life, real life is also online. And based on that insight, we must take our responsibility and to listen to those who live there: If the boundaries. About how to help others. And what we adults can do if you become a victim.
“That is why the foundation’s first challenge to contribute to more and better conversation between adults and young people on issues related to online and social media. Princess Sofia and I am happy and grateful that all of you are here and for the work you have done before today. It is you who are the experts. And we look forward to share your knowledge and experience. Together we can hopefully take a step closer to a better and easier communication between adults, children and adolescents. So that the Internet can be a safe and better place for all.”
[full transcript, in Swedish]
I realize that some of you are skeptical of what exactly Carl Philip and Sofia are going to do, what real world solutions they are going to achieve, and who they are going to help, but I really like the thought process they have toward this subject. I cannot answer any of those concerns, but given how they talk about cyberbullying I’m willing to go along with them for a bit to see where they go. It’s early days still, hopefully they will find their footing.
Sofia wore a black pinstripe suit with black pumps and a shirt underneath her jacket. Very professional. Her hair was down, though, and I have not seen a video to know if it got in her face or not while speaking.