"From a young age I have detested bullying in all forms," the Duke of Cambridge said today while speaking at the Founders Forum, a technology conference in Watford. "As Catherine and I started our family a few years ago, I was alarmed by the increasing reports of online bullying that were making headlines around the world.” William also encouraged internet companies to fight against online bullying.
Prince William spoke to the audience, which included the chairmen of Google and Twitter. The Prince is convening a Royal Foundation Cyberbullying Task Force to address the issue, working in conjunction with leading technology companies like Facebook, Twitter and others.
"There is one issue that I want to ask for your assistance and energy, to help turn from a worrying challenge to an exciting opportunity -– and that is how we protect children online, " William said.
Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry are tackling bullying as part of a wide ranging mental health campaign which is the focus of their charitable work. William has focused his energy on young men who have a disproportionately high level of suicide. Kate is focusing her appeal on young people. And Prince Harry is targeting military members.
"From the girls developing eating disorders after being subjected to a campaign of abuse on social media, to the teenage boys who took their own lives following constant targeting –- as a parent myself, I was appalled," William said.
He applauded the opportunities technology has provided but cautioned against the perils of social media and its effect on young people who are not equipped to deal with it.
"Children and young people use the internet more than almost any of us, but are too young, inexperienced or lacking in the maturity of adults to make the right judgments about what is and what is not safe, " Prince William told the leaders gathered at the forum.
"To school-age children today, there is no difference between their online and offline lives. Bullying is bullying, wherever it happens,” he said.
William's speech came a day after he appeared on the cover of Attitude, the U.K.'s leading gay magazine lobbying against homophobia and prejudice.