Through The Duke of Cambridge’s work with young people, mental health charities and as a parent himself, cyberbullying is an issue he has become increasingly concerned about.
A recent nationwide survey revealed that 55% of young people have received hurtful comments online, with 18% experiencing cyberbullying – and the problem is growing.
To ensure the Taskforce focuses on the areas of greatest opportunity and need, a panel of young people was convened to help shape the Taskforce’s discussions and outcomes. The young people’s panel asked the Taskforce for help in three ways:
- To identify a set of actions for young people to help them behave better online, and for these to appear on the social media sites they are using
- For these actions to form part of a campaign that also reflects the fact that young people see social media and the internet as positive platforms
- For parents, carers and teachers to help remind young people how to behave online, just as they do offline
After more than 18 months of work, the Taskforce has created an Action Plan and campaign which is designed to kick-start a new approach to support young people when they are using social media and gaming platforms. Chaired by tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman CBE, the Taskforce members include: The Anti-Bullying Alliance; Apple; BT; The Diana Award; EE; Facebook; Google; Internet Matters; NSPCC; O2; Sky; Snapchat; Supercell; TalkTalk; Twitter; Vodafone and Virgin Media.
The Action Plan can be viewed here and includes:
The UK will today become the first country in the world to launch a national, youth-led, code of conduct for the internet – ‘Stop, Speak, Support’. A video launching the campaign is available here. This will be publicly promoted at 0600.
- For the first time ever the world’s biggest social media firms are adapting their platforms to provide direct access to support when bullying strikes. Facebook and Snapchat have worked with the NSPCC to create new functions that will be trialled among groups of young people. If successful, The Duke hopes it can become a global blueprint.
- A major new commitment to design ‘Safety Guidelines’ has been agreed by the social media and gaming firms in the Taskforce, as well as creating a new compliance process, with the sole drive to commit all platforms to keeping children and young people safe.
- Taskforce members are building a universal strategy for information, ensuring all online resources for support and help – whether aimed at young people or parents – are high quality, reliable and have common themes.
Stop, Speak, Support – The Code of Conduct Campaign
The Duke of Cambridge believes that our largest social media, technology, gaming, communication service providers and media companies have a positive opportunity to create the solution to support our children online, and to help children feel empowered to question online behaviour, speak out and support their friends.
All young people should feel able to look out for their friends, to stop the bullies, to speak out and to get support. The young people on the Taskforce said they had rules and guides for every part of their life – but not online. This is the ‘green cross code’ for the web.
The Stop, Speak Support code includes:
- Action 1: Take time out before getting involved, and don’t share or like negative comments.
- Action 2: Try and get an overview of what’s really going on.
- Action 3: Check the community guidelines for the site you’re on.
- Action 1: Ask an adult or friend that you can trust for advice.
- Action 2: Use the report button for the social media it’s happening on.
- Action 3: Speak to one of the charities set up to help with situations like this, such as Childline.
- Action 1: Give the person being bullied a supportive message to let them know they’re not alone.
- Action 2: Encourage the person being bullied to talk to someone they can trust.
- Action 3: Give the person being bullied a positive distraction from the situation.
The promotional campaign to highlight the code will run for three months until ‘Safer Internet Day’, and seeks to reach every single 11-16 year old in this country. The aim is to empower all young people to take a stand against bullying.
The Taskforce is chaired by Brent Hoberman CBE and consists of the following charities and industry partners:
The Anti-Bullying Alliance
The Diana Award
This taskforce will bring together the commitment, talent and expertise of the technology industry to tackle cyberbullying and the terrible effect it has on children. The future of our children is inextricably linked with the internet. It is our responsibility to ensure that they grow up confident and happy online so that they can make the most of the extraordinary potential it offers.
Brent Hoberman, CBE