The Countess of Wessex has said social media can be “unkind” as she pledged to help her children navigate it.
Sophie, who is married to the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, admitted their children aren’t yet interested in social media, but said openness in families was the best way for parents to help teenagers deal with online networks.
She was speaking in an interview with Good Housekeeping after completing a shift with Childline as a helpline volunteer.
Sophie, 55, and Edward, 56, are parents to Lady Louise Windsor, who is 16, and James, the Viscount Severn, who is 12.
The countess said: “At the moment, my children aren’t into social media, however, it is here to stay, so it’s important for them to understand it and for us to equip them with the tools to navigate it successfully.
“Again, I think openness is one way families can support their teenagers. If children feel they can discuss issues and worries with their parents, without fear of them, or their friends, being judged, this may give opportunity to help them with what can be a complex and very pressured area.
“It’s so important that young people have adults in their lives who support and affirm them.
“Particularly when the virtual world can be, at times, unkind.
“Young people need to know they can trust someone with a problem, be that a person directly involved in their life or, of course, Childline is always there for them.”
Her comments echo those made by the Duke of Cambridge and by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, all of whom have raised concerns about the online world.
William, 38, has spoken about online bullying, urging tech leaders back in 2018 to do more to tackle the cyber problem.
Meghan, 39, encouraged people to stop sharing anything they consider “horrible” online during a video call discussing using digital for good.
Sophie carried out a shift with Childline in June when the royals returned to in-person duties as the lockdown eased.
She described answering messages from young people which had been sent into the charity’s personal inbox.
She told Good Housekeeping: “When I did my shift at Childline there was a wonderful, experienced volunteer guiding me and I felt fully supported.
“She helped me to construct responses to the emails, which I hope the young people receiving them found helpful.
“It was a fantastic insight into some of the remarkable work they do each and every day.”
She has been patron of Childline and the NSPCC for several years, taking over the NSPCC from the Queen in 2016.
The countess said: “This was the first patronage that Her Majesty asked me to take on and I accepted the honour immediately.”
The full interview with the countess appears in the October issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from Wednesday 26 August in supermarkets and online at magsdirect.co.uk.