In 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge together with Prince Harry established the Royal Foundation Taskforce with the aim of creating a targeted campaign to combat Cyberbullying. The Taskforce comprised of a panel of young individuals, (of which I was one), acting as ambassadors for major charities such as the NSPCC, the Diana Awards and NCB. We met at several locations including YouTube, Sky and the O2 Think-space in order to discuss messages we wanted the campaign to deliver, as well as assisting with the creation of the Code of Conduct.
We concluded that it is often those who witness another person being bullied, who had the most potential to stop it. We wanted the campaign to encourage them to be an up-stander rather than a bystander. The campaign aims to give children the guidance needed to recognize bullying and reinforces the importance of supporting others who are experiencing bullying.
The campaign has three key messages: STOP, SPEAK, SUPPORT. The idea is that people should stop, think about what they are posting to try and avoid writing negative posts, as well as checking social media guidelines if they see negative behavior. It is encourages young people to speak out when they see bad behavior online. Including talking to a trusted adult or reporting it to the social media company. It also aims to support those experiencing negative comments and posts online. Often this is the most important message of all, if people feel that they are being supported during a difficult time it can help them get through it.
We launched on the16 November 2017, marking an agreement between the social media companies and technology industry to positively impact upon the behavior of young people. The finished advert was premiered at YouTube Headquarters and all of those involved in the campaign were able to speak to Prince William about the campaign and what they hoped that it might achieve. The Prince highlighted his aim to continue the campaign and his ambition that technology companies continue to work to make a difference online. He emphasised the need for further reforms, and that the mission for a safe and supportive online environment had yet to be achieved.
I think that his continued aspiration for an online world without cruelty is commendable, and the campaign is a fantastic first step in the battle against cyberbullying, but the work must continue. Social companies must do more in order to reinforce positive behavior and set aside their competitive differences in order to best support young people.
It was important to me that the Royal Foundation consulted and involved young people in the decision making for this campaign, too often campaigns fail to do this and are less effective for it.
Overall I was very pleased with the campaign, the involvement and endorsement of numerous famous people will boost its credibility and hopefully increase its popularity. I believe that the campaign will reach a large audience and that it will make a real difference to the lives of those affected by bullying.