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Duke of Cambridge plans industry-wide taskforce to tackle cyberbullying

Published 28/04/2016

The Taskforce will bring together industry partners and a group of advisers from the sector to develop an industry-wide response to the online bullying of young people
The Taskforce will bring together industry partners and a group of advisers from the sector to develop an industry-wide response to the online bullying of young people

The Duke of Cambridge has announced an ambitious plan to bring together an industry-wide taskforce to tackle cyberbullying and support young people and their families affected by it.

William has asked Brent Hoberman, who founded Lastminute.com with Martha Lane Fox in 1998, to chair the group which will be supported by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Over the coming year the Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying will bring together industry partners and a group of advisers from the sector to develop an industry-wide response to the online bullying of young people, with a focus on 12 to 14-year-olds.

Mr Hoberman said: "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."

The new initiative follows the announcement at the weekend that William, Kate and Harry want to "help change the national conversation'' on mental health.

They are leading a campaign called Heads Together which will be the biggest single project they have undertaken together.

It will be a partnership with charities with experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing help for people with mental health challenges.

A spokesman for the Duke of Cambridge said: "This is an issue that the Duke feels strongly about. He knows that social media and other technologies are creating significant positive opportunities for millions of young people.

"But as a parent, he knows that many people worry about how to protect their children from the new avenues for bullying that technology is creating.

"He hopes the taskforce can help the industry share the best practice that is emerging across the sector and put in place new standards so that the internet remains something young people and their parents can embrace with confidence."

The spokesman added that while most social platforms and service providers do have systems in place for reporting or removing abusive content, there is no common industry standard or commitment to tackle the issue, nor is there an existing single repository of information for users on how to address it.

The taskforce will take existing models of good practice for reporting abusive content on individual networks and develop a set of commitments for the industry to sign up to, to collectively tackle the issue.

It will consider the development of a single resource of up-to-date practical support and information for young people affected by cyberbullying, with advice on how to get help. It will also work to help parents and adults to better understand cyberbullying, and give them the confidence to find appropriate help and resources to support children affected by the issue.

Kensington Palace said full membership of the taskforce would be announced soon and it will include leading figures from technology companies and internet service providers.

The taskforce will also be supported by a panel of young people aged 11-15, to ensure it remains engaged in current online trends.

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