Being a father to three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet is inspiring the Duke of Sussex to call for change in the realm of social media.
Prince Harry joined the 5Rights Foundation as it launched the Global Child Online Safety Toolkit webinar this week, where he spoke from his Montecito home about the potentially negative effect of the digital and social media world on children.
"As parents, my wife and I are concerned about the next generation growing up in a world where they are treated as digital experiments for companies to make money and where things like hatred and harm are somehow normalised," Harry said during his speech, according to People. "We want our children and all children to feel empowered to speak up."
He said that he worries about Archie and Lilibet growing up in a digital-first world. "My two little ones are still at their age of innocence. Sometimes I feel like I can keep them away from the online harm that they could face in the future forever, but I'm learning to know better," he continued, adding that social media today "isn't working and needs to be fixed," because it is designed to "pull us in, keep us scrolling, get us angry or anxious — or make us numb to the world around us."
"It is not realistic to protect kids from everything.
We need new laws. We need public pressure. We need strong leadership."
📢Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, at the @5RightsFound's & @GPtoEndViolence's event to launch their Child Online Safety Toolkit. pic.twitter.com/OpfD7Ggob1
— End Violence (@GPtoEndViolence) May 16, 2022
He added, "I'm not an expert on law or technology, but I am a father — and I'm lucky enough to be a father with a platform. My kids are too young to have experienced the online world yet, and I hope they never have to experience it as it exists now. No kid should have to."
This is not the first time that the duke has expressed his sentiments about social media. In an essay for Fast Company published in 2020, Harry explained how social media platforms can be potentially dangerous incubators of hatred and misinformation.
"If we are susceptible to the coercive forces in digital spaces, then we have to ask ourselves— what does this mean for our children? As a father, this is especially concerning to me," he wrote. "It shouldn't be seen as a coincidence that the rise of social media has been matched by a rise in division amongst us globally."
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