Prince William reveals fears for children over cyber-bullying

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  • Prince William has spoken candidly about his fears of children using social media unsupervised.

    The Duke of Cambridge – father to five-year-old Prince George, Princess Charlotte, 3 and six-month-old Prince Louis – revealed that fatherhood inspired him to set up the Taskforce for the Prevention of Cyberbullying.

    The Prince went on to say that ‘we were making the rules up as we go along’ when it came to parenting decisions about children, phones and using the internet in the home.

    In his recent visit to the BBC’s The One Show the Duke gave a speech to mark Anti-Bullying Week, in it the Prince spoke about the dangers of the internet.

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    "I believe we are stronger when we are connected and more successful when we can understand each other’s experiences. We all have to acknowledge, though, that much of the early optimism and hope of social media is giving way to very real concern, and even fear about its impact on our lives." — today The Duke of Cambridge, delivered a speech on Social Media companies and Cyberbullying. On Social Media companies, The Duke said: "I am very concerned that on every challenge they face – fake news, extremism, polarisation, hate speech, trolling, mental health, privacy, and bullying – our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot." Watch The Duke's speech in full on our #IGTV channel, or via the link in our bio.

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    ‘I saw that my friends were worried about the risks of the very powerful tools we were putting in our children’s hands’, said William.

    ‘For too many families, phones and social media have shattered the sanctity and protection of the home. As we grapple with this, we felt a distinct absence of guidance.’

    What is cyberbullying? How to spot if your child is being bullied online

    What to do if your child is being bullied

    The Prince went on to explain how lost parents were when it came to the new way of parenting: ‘Should we read our children’s messages? Should we allow them to have phones and tablets in their rooms? Who do we report bullying to? We were making the rules up as we went along.’

    The dad-of-three called for more to be done on making the online world we all live in daily ‘safer and happier for our young people.’

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    On the @BBCTheOneShow sofa, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Ellie, Eliza and Cameron from Wormholt Park Primary School for a discussion on the upcoming @BBC Kids Online Wellbeing app. Completely child-centred, the Kids Online Wellbeing app will act as a child’s companion online, helping them understand the impact of their online behaviours, both on themselves and on others. The Duke then gave a speech on Cyberbullying — saying to Social Media companies: “Social media companies have done more to connect the world than has ever been achieved in human history. Surely you can connect with each other about smart ways to deal with the unintended consequences of these connections?” Watch The Duke's full speech on our #IGTV channel, or via the link in our bio. #AntiBullyingWeek

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    While William talked about the positives of sharing on social media and reconnecting with old friends etc, he also highlighted the dangers, the fake news and, in particular among children, for bullies to ‘follow their targets even after they have left the classroom.’

    Though the 36-year-old admitted that he may have been ‘too ambitious’ after underestimating the enormity of the challenge but urged technology companies to shoulder some of the burden, concluding in his speech that they should work with parents to make the online world safe.

    The Taskforce supports young people and their families affected by cyberbullying, with a focus on 11 to 16-year-olds. Companies including Apple, Google, Facebook and Snapchat are working alongside a panel of young people to create a safer online world.

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