Prince Harry hopes his children will never have to experience social media in its current form.
The Duke of Sussex, who is three years old Archie and Lily, 11 months old, along with his wife Megan, Duchess of Sussex, criticized online campaigns for developing platforms “at the expense of youth” and insisted that parents can not protect their children. from harm online.
Harry claimed that children “target and feed dangerous content” when they go online and “are viewed as digital experiments to make money.”
Speaking through Zoom about the launch of a toolkit called “Making child safety online a reality,” he said: “Many of these systems are designed to keep our children tied for years to come, no matter how their time is. The Internet affects their self-confidence, self-worth or security. ”
Harry admitted that he was not an “expert in law and technology” and then added: “But I am a father and I am lucky to be a parent with a platform.
“My kids are still too young to experience the world of the Internet. And I hope they never have to go through it the way they do now. No child should have one.
“It’s easy to say that the business model of the internet and social media is broken, but it’s not.
“The online business model does exactly what it is designed to do – attracts us, makes us scroll, angers, worries or makes us numb in front of the world around us.
“It’s bad enough when it’s designed for adults, but what’s worse, it’s designed to do the same with our kids.
“The social networking industry is making incredible money from our time, our attention and our information, literally.
“Their financial model is based on keeping us online and involved so they can clear our most personal information and time.”
Harry insisted that it was time to “understand that the way we feel about technologies like social ones doesn’t work and needs to be fixed.”
The prince does not think that he will be able to keep his children away from “damage to the Internet” forever if “significant” changes are not made.
He said: “Two of my little ones are still at an innocent age.
“Sometimes I feel like I can keep them forever away from the harm the internet they may face in the future, but I’m learning to know better.
“I will learn that without significant changes in the way we hold technology accountable and approach technology development in the future, we will not be able to prevent our children from being exposed to addictive products when they encounter content they should never see. and feel and never have to go through. “
Harry called for new laws combined with public pressure, strong leadership and “to continue researching what some of the world’s largest companies are hiding behind closed doors.”
He added: “You don’t need to have an informant or other disturbing discoveries to find out what social media companies have known for a long time: that their platforms are designed at the expense of young people.
“As parents, my wife and I are concerned that the next generation is growing up in a world where they are treated as digital experiments to make money, and where things like hatred and harm are somehow normalized.
“None of us wants a world where their children will be targeted by unsafe content and will not be able to learn, connect and play freely.
“We want our children and all children to feel empowered to speak out and call for change when older generations are unable to see or ignore all the new technologies that shape society.”
The toolkit was launched by the 5Rights Foundation with the support of the African Union, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the European Union and other global NGOs on the rights of the child.
The report calls on countries to create child safety policies online, and world leaders are asked to make commitments in the international arena.