Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are encouraging change from social media companies to prevent cyberbullying of kids.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a lengthy statement about the importance of online safety for children following a Senate hearing on the subject, and they also shared a new video from their appearance at an event celebrating World Mental Health Day last October.
“When the car was first invented, there wasn’t a seat belt, and what happened? People started to get hurt, people started to die. So, you started to change the car,” Markle said in the video.
She continued, “Everyone now is affected by the online world and social media. There is an entry point that’s positive and creating community, but we all want to feel safe.”
Prince Harry followed her sentiments and said, “We need to get out of this idea that young kids, ‘there’s something wrong with them.’ No, it’s the world that we’re allowing to be created around them. Please stop sending children content that you wouldn’t want your own children to see.”
The clip was released on their Archewell site after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on online safety for children on Wednesday.
Big Tech founders, including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, spoke directly to victims and their family members during the hearing in Washington, D.C. The committee heard testimony from the heads of the largest tech firms on the dangers of child sexual exploitation on social media.
The statement that Harry and Markle shared said in part, “We applaud the bravery and determination of the thousands of parents around the country whose advocacy resulted in this hearing.”
The couple pointed out that the bi-partisan hearing on online child safety was filled with a “packed room” as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee listened to “dozens of parents whose children have suffered or died due to online harms.”
“Over the past few years, we have spent time with many of these families, listening to their heartache and their hopes for the urgent change that is needed in the online space,” the statement continued. “This is an issue that transcends division and party lines, as we saw today at the Senate hearing.”
“The best parenting in the world cannot keep children safe from these platforms,” they stated.
Harry and Markle concluded their message by quoting a father whose child was harmfully impacted by the effects of social media.
“If love could have saved them, all of our children would still be here,” the quote read.
The couple added, “This is not the time to pass the buck of responsibility. It’s the time to make necessary change at the source to keep our children safe.”
Meanwhile, their campaign comes one week after their surprise trip to Jamaica sparked controversy.
The couple made a rare public appearance and walked the red carpet at the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ new film, “Bob Marley: One Love,” where they were pictured with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Holness previously expressed “unresolved” issues between his country and the monarchy when Prince William and Princess Kate visited Jamaica in 2022.
The prime minister told Prince William and Princess Kate during a visit in 2022 that Jamaica intends to become fully independent. “We are moving on,” he said. “We intend to … fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”
The former British colony would become only the second Caribbean island to cut off relations from the monarchy in recent years, with Barbados severing ties in November 2021. Britain ruled Jamaica for more than 300 years, most notably during the 18th century when the British government was involved in the Atlantic slave trade. While Jamaica gained independence in August 1962, it still remained with the British Commonwealth.