Roya Nikkhah over at the Times had an article on Sunday about Prince William and his cyber-bullying taskforce. Nikkhah writes that William wants to visit San Francisco next year, possibly in the summer, to speak to Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook and show them and other tech chiefs the taskforce’s plan to tackle cyber-bullying.
“The Duke of Cambridge is considering plans to visit America next year to urge the bosses of the world’s biggest technology companies to do more to tackle cyber-bullying. When he launched his taskforce on the prevention of cyber-bullying earlier this year, Prince William said he had in part been moved to do so after becoming father to Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
“Founding members of the taskforce include the British and European heads of digital giants such as Google, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook as well as anti-bullying charities and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the worldwide web. William has asked them to devise methods to make it easier for children and parents to get help if they experience online trolling. He has also requested a set of commitments to curb cyber-bullying and improve safety that the industry could sigh up to.
“The proposed extension of the campaign would see the duke visit California to meet the global chiefs of several tech companies. He is expected to request meetings with Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, which has not joined the taskforce. A source said: ‘The taskforce will complete its work in May 2017 and will come up with recommendations for the tech industry. The duke wants to take those recommendations to America and go to the tech companies and say, ‘This is our blueprint in the UK. This is what you need to do’.’
“A royal aide added: ‘The taskforce has received lots of interest from the US and the global leadership of these major companies who have expressed interest in being involved in the process… The next big push will be in the summer.’
“Tessy Ojo chief executive of the Diana Award charity and a taskforce member, said: ‘We are looking at ambitious preventative measures that can be put in place when it comes to cyber-bullying and how the industry can support young people better.’
“William and the Duchess of Cambridge are understood to have been moved by the story of Felix Alexander, 17, from Worcester, who took his own life in April after years of online abuse. It is thought the couple contacted his mother, Lucy, to ask what more could be done to help. Lucy Alexander recently wrote an open letter pleading for more responsible use of social media and the family is raising funds for Place2Be, a charity that offers counselling to young people, of which Kate is patron.
“Launching the taskforce in June, William said he ‘was alarmed by the increasing reports of online bullying… As a parent myself, I was appalled.’ Research suggests 35% of 11- to 17-year-olds have experienced cyber-bullying. Brent Hoberman, a tech entrepreneur who chairs the taskforce, said: ‘The future of our children is inextricably linked with the internet.'”
William announced the convening of The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying back on April 28, and at the time a spokesman said:
“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.”
On May 17, William attended the inaugural meeting of the taskforce at Kensington Palace.
Then on June 14, the founding members of the taskforce were announced. The taskforce is chaired by tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, C.B.E., and founding members include the CEOs and executives of many technology companies, and anti-bullying charities and Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Lady Rosemary Berners-Lee. A spokesman for William said: “The Duke is pleased that so many leaders and experts in the technology and communications have agreed to join his Cyberbullying Taskforce.” And then just repeated the statement from April.
On June 16, William gave a speech at the Founders Forum 2016 about the taskforce and the issue of cyberbullying. I don’t want to quote the speech, but I do want to take a moment to laugh at this line: “From a young age, I have detested bullying in all its forms.” BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA Boy, you were a bully from a young age. Have all the seats!
On September 13, William “received Mr. Brent Hoberman”.
On September 14, William attended the second meeting of the taskforce at St. James’s Palace.
I can’t be mad at William for coming at this issue from a parent’s perspective, but – and this may be my age talking – I can’t help but roll my eyes at it. Mainly because I remember my mom telling me not to join Facebook back in 2007 because reasons. But I got a Facebook page anyway because I wanted one so I just hid it from her. Then a few years later she joined Facebook and I was really annoyed at her for it because she went all parent on me just a few years earlier over it. So whenever I see/hear/read a parent not liking technology/the Internet because they’re worried for their kids, I eyeroll thinking they’re just old and don’t get it.
But while I have never experienced online bullying myself (the bullying I experienced was in person), I’ve seen the horribly racist things that were said to Leslie Jones, and I saw what Beyonce’s fans did to poor Rachel Ray after Beyonce released her latest album. And there are many more instances of online bullying. I realize that this is a huge problem, it’s just the young person in me that cringes when the issue is brought up in a “parents trying to protect their kids” kind of way. I kind of think this issue would be better brought up by someone who has experienced online bullying (and there are many people who have who are speaking out about it) or at least framed that way, rather than as a “parents” issue, just because I think that would be more relatable to kids and young people.
I’m curious what this taskforce will accomplish and what types of measures they will take to protect kids from cyberbullying. Other than censorship, I’m not sure what steps or preventative measures will stop cyberbullying, because the problem is not the Internet or social media, the problem is people being cruel to each other. The Internet is the most human thing humanity has ever created – it is a pure manifestation of humanity. Cyberbullying exists because bullying exists because humans are cruel to each other.
PS. You know who has experienced cyberbullying recently? Meghan Markle. Seriously. She has gotten a lot of hateful comments on her Instagram account, and there have been many hateful comments made toward her on various sites. Whether she leaked the story or not, whether she is trolling fans with her Insta posts or not, whether she wanted the attention or not, she does not deserve the kind of comments she’s gotten.