Prince Harry has said he hopes his children “never have to experience the online world as it is right now”.
Speaking about his concerns for his own children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, 11 months, he said: “My kids are too young to have experienced the online world yet. And I hope that they never have to experience it as it exists now. No kid should have to.
“Sometimes I feel I can keep them away from the online harms that they could face in the future forever, but I am learning to know better.”
Harry was speaking at a charity event via Zoom from his home in California, as he helped launch an online safety toolkit run by the 5Rights Foundation.
Speaking at the webinar, he criticised the internet business model as well as social media companies that make “unimaginable money” from people’s attention and information.
“Wherever you are, wherever you’re listening from, I predict that your family, like mine, understands that the way we experienced technologies like social media isn’t working and needs to be fixed,” he said.
“The online world is changing, and it’s on every single one of us to make sure that the change ahead prioritises our children’s right to a safe and happy future.”
The royal was joined by representatives from the UN, the African Union and the EU, as well as young people aged between 13 and 21 from all over the world including South Africa, Canada, and Malaysia.
He praised the youth charity’s “ground-breaking work” in calling for a safer digital world for young people.
The duke, who stepped down from royal duties in 2020, declared he had “two hopes” to discuss in the virtual conversation – to give concerned parents a voice and to spotlight young people experiencing today’s technology, empowering them to demand better.
He said everyone must work together “to make sure every child can grow up in a digital age that allows them to thrive”.
Harry and Meghan will return to the UK next month for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with Archie and Lilibet both in tow.