LONDON: The Duke of Cambridge is expected to launch a guide for children on how to cope with a “banter escalation scenario”, after bringing together social media giants to help combat cyberbullying.
The Duke announced a “green cross code” for the 21st century, teaching young people aged 11-16 what to do if they fall victim to “really dangerous” anonymous bullying online.
The project, from the Royal Foundation’s Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, will see organisations including broadband companies, Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Twitter work with the NSPCC and Diana Award to announce a code of conduct for the internet urging young people to “stop, speak, support”.
It asks them to stop and consider what the situation is before joining in negative activity online, speak to an adult, a charity or report any abuse if they are concerned and offer support to the individual being targeted.
In a video, the Duke warned that anonymity online can be “really, really dangerous” and can lead to the “human tragedy” of intolerable cyberbullying.
His interest in the problem began shortly after the birth of his own son, Prince George when he heard the story of a boy who killed himself as a result of online abuse.
A video, entitled “what to do in a banter escalation scenario” will be used to launch the advice, encouraging children to “stop, speak support” when the “banter turns bad”.
The National Action Plan, launched by the Duke on Thursday, sees the UK become the “first country in the world to launch a national, youth-led, code of conduct for the internet”
It will see Facebook and Snapchat work with the NSPCC to create new functions to protect users against bullying, which, if successful, the Duke hopes will become “a global blueprint”.
A clip released by Kensington Palace shows the Duke meeting Lucy Alexander, whose son Felix killed himself as a result of bullying, and cyberbullying victim Chloe Hine who attempted to take her own life at the age of 13.
Listening to the experiences of the pair, the Duke told them: “I think it is worth reminding everyone what the human tragedy of what we are talking about here isn’t just about companies and about online stuff – it’s actually real lives that get affected.
“And the consequences, that is the big thing, the consequences of what happens if things are not kept in check in terms of what we say and what we do.
“We are still responsible for our own actions online – this anonymity, as you were saying, is really, really dangerous.”
Ms Alexander spoke of her son’s slide into depression after he was targeted on social media, being excluded from parties and viewing himself as “stupid and ugly”.
The Duke told her: “It is one thing when it happens on the playground and it is visible there and parents and teachers and other children can see it. Online, you’re the only one who sees it, and it’s so personal, isn’t it? Really it goes straight to your bedroom.”