Blog written by Young NCB member Sophie Poole.
Over a year ago, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge together with Prince Harry established a Royal Foundation Taskforce with the aim of creating a targeted campaign in order to combat Cyberbullying. The Taskforce comprised a panel of young individuals (of which I was one) acting as ambassadors for major charities such as the NSPCC, the Diana Awards and the Anti-Bullying Alliance (based at the National Children’s Bureau). We met at several locations including YouTube, Sky and the O2 Think-space in order to discuss the most important messages that we wanted the campaign to deliver as well as assisting with the creation of the Code of Conduct.
We wanted the campaign to appeal to those witnessing a bullying situation; to encourage them to be an up-stander rather than a bystander. We concluded that it is often those who see bullying who could make a real difference, when a victim may feel unable to do so. The campaign aims to give children the guidance needed to recognise bullying and reinforces the importance of supporting others that are experiencing bullying.
The campaign focuses on the three key messages of STOP, SPEAK SUPPORT. The idea is that people should stop, think about what they are posting to try and avoid writing negative posts, and they should check the social media guidelines if they see negative behaviour. People need to speak out about bad behaviour online, whether talking to a trusted adult or reporting it to the social media company, the campaign is reinforcing the need to speak out about bullying online. The final aim is to support those experiencing negative comments and posts online. Often this is the most important message of all, if people feel that they are being supported during a difficult time it can help them get through it.
On 16 November the campaign was launched, marking an agreement between the social media companies and technology industry to positively impact upon the behaviour of young people. The finished advert was premiered at YouTube Headquarters and all of those involved in the campaign were able to speak to Prince William about the campaign and what they hoped that it might achieve. The Prince highlighted his aim to continue the campaign and his ambition that the technology companies might once again unite in the future to continue to make a difference online. He emphasised the need for further reforms and that the mission for a safe and supportive online environment had yet to be achieved.
I think that his continued aspiration for an online world without unkindness is commendable, the campaign is a fantastic first step in the battle against Cyberbullying, but the work must continue. Social media companies must do more in order to reinforce the positive behaviour which the internet should promote. Social media companies should set aside their competitive differences and unite with the aim of helping children and teenagers who make up a large proportion of their users. The fact that the Royal Foundation consulted and involved children in the decision making for this campaign is especially important; these campaigns are created with children in mind and therefore it is essential that children of all ages are consulted.
Overall I was very pleased with the campaign, the involvement and endorsement of numerous famous people will boost its credibility and hopefully increase its popularity. I believe that the campaign will reach a large audience and that it will make a real difference to the lives of those affected by bullying.