Meghan Markle and Prince Harry continue to show up for families affected by the downsides of social media.
On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, attended the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on child safety, “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis,” to voice their support of holding social media companies accountable for potential damage done to children and teens on their platforms.
“We applaud the bravery and determination of the thousands of parents around the country whose advocacy resulted in this hearing,” the couple said in a statement released following the hearing.
They added, “Over the past few years, we have spent time with many of these families, listening to their heartache and their hopes for the urgent change that is needed in the online space.”
In October, Markle and Prince Harry held the first-ever in-person event for their foundation, “The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in a Digital Age.” That event featured a panel of parents who had lost children due to social media bullying and abuse.
In Wednesday’s statement, the Duke and Duchess said, “This is an issue that transcends division and party lines, as we saw today at the Senate hearing. The best parenting in the world cannot keep children safe from these platforms.”
They concluded their statement with a quote from a father whose child was negatively impacted by social media: “If love could have saved them, all of our children would still be here. This is not the time to pass the buck of responsibility. It’s the time to make necessary change at the source to keep our children safe.”
According to People magazine, during the hearing, Harry said, “I think for us, for myself and my wife, with kids growing up in a digital age, the priority here is to again turn pain into purpose.”
He added they wanted to provide support and a platform for parents to “come together, to heal, to grieve,” and to focus on finding solutions, “so that no other family anywhere has to go through what they’ve been through.”
As Markle reminded the crowd during Wednesday’s hearing, “Social media isn’t going away.”
Both Spiegel and Zuckerberg apologized for their respective platforms’ impact.
While explaining safety measures taken by Snapchat, Spiegel, who remained facing the Senate, said, “I’m so sorry that we have not been able to prevent these tragedies.”
Zuckerberg turned to face the crowd, speaking directly to the families when he said, “I’m sorry for everything you’ve all gone through. It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered. This is why we have invested so much, and we are going to continue doing industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer.”
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