Speaking about how “appalled” he is over the abuse he’s seen on social media, Prince William made an appeal for greater measures to protect children from online bullying.
“From a young age, I have detested bullying in all its forms. As Catherine and I started our family a few years ago, I was alarmed about the increasing reports of online bullying that were making headlines around the world,” he told people attending a technology conference Thursday in London.
The father of two noted that to school children, “there is no difference between their online and offline lives. Bullying is bullying, wherever it happens."
The conference took place a day after William appeared on the cover of a British gay magazine — the first royal to give an interview with such a publication — to denounce bullying faced by members of the LGBT community.
Both Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, have been vocal about taking steps to curb all forms of bullying, as well as addressing the impact such abuse has on the mental health of youth, another issue they have championed.
During this week’s technology conference, William described some of the stories he’s heard from children across Great Britain.
"From the girls developing eating disorders after being subjected to a campaign of abuse on social media, to the teenage boys who took their own lives following constant targeting, as a parent myself, I was appalled,” he said.
He has reason to be. Within the United States, a third of all teenagers say they’ve been victims of cyberbulling, with more than a million children targeted over Facebook alone.
Through the Royal Foundation, the prince has convened a task force to address ways to prevent online bullying, recruiting tech giants including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to help.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but by this time next year we expect to have a plan in place to achieve fundamental improvements in online safety for bullied children,” he said.