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Royal taskforce fails to consider parents voice in tackling cyberbullying

By Yusuf Tamanna 

Prince William has announced the launch of a new industry-led taskforce to support young people and their families affected by cyberbullying.

The Royal Foundation on the Prevention of Cyberbullying will bring together industry leaders, along with advisors in a bid to develop a blanket response to the online bullying of young people, with a clear focus on 12-14 year olds.

Speaking about the new initiative, a spokesperson for Prince William said: ‘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.’

Though full details of the taskforce membership are to follow, there is currently no indication of a parenting focused organisation being involved alongside industry experts and young people. While it is great to see further work being done to tackle cyberbullying, Parent Zone knows first-hand that parents play a vital role in young people’s digital lives, and all that comes with it.

‘This new taskforce on cyberbullying will raise the profile of a problem that we know is affecting a lot of young people, but we would challenge the taskforce to do more than produce another resource - this is a space that needs innovation and evidence based solutions,’ said Parent Zone CEO and executive board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCSIS) Vicki Shotbolt. 'It is time we moved forward and began to address the toxic messages and stereotypes that are making life online unpleasant for so many people, because the underlying issues that cause bullying were not invented by technology, but are amplified by it.' 

In a study looking into how children think their parents are doing in the digital world carried out in October 2017, Parent Zone found that over half of teens who responded said they found it helpful when their parents talked to them about the incidents and issues that arise online, including cyberbullying. Parent Zone feels it’s imperative that the voice of parents is factored into Prince Williams’ taskforce.