Yesterday, the the Senate Judiciary Committee hosted a hearing on online child safety, with five chief executives (from Meta, TikTok, Discord, Snap, and X) testifying in front of senators.
Per the New York Times, the bipartisan hearing, officially titled “Big Tech and and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis,” ended with “no clear resolutions in sight,” and those who were seated in the audience included families of victims. After the end of the hearing, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle posted a statement to their Archewell Foundation website. They noted, “The Archewell Foundation has been working with many of these families to provide a support network for parents dealing with grief or who have children managing serious mental health conditions as a result of their exposure to harmful online content.”
In their statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote, “We applaud the bravery and determination of the thousands of parents around the country whose advocacy resulted in this hearing.”
They continued, “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. 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. As one of the fathers shared with us: ‘If love could have saved them, all of our children would still be here.’”
Harry and Meghan’s statement ended with a call to action: “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.”
In their first-ever Archewell Foundation Summit in New York City this past October, the Sussexes spoke about raising children in the age of social media.
Meghan said, “As they say, being a parent, the days are long, but the years short. So it worries me, but I’m also given a lot of hope and a lot of energy by the progress we’ve made in the past year, being able to have these incredible parents and survivors of this experience to share those stories allows us to learn. The more information we have, the more information gathering we’re able to do, the more we can have these high-level conversations and try to move the needle a little bit.”
She continued, “I just think anyone who’s a parent, and by the way, even if you’re not a parent, you see your friends affected, you see adults who are affected by this, everyone now is affected by the online world and social media, some more than others, we all just want to feel safe. You want to feel community, you wanna feel connected, especially post pandemic, but you want to feel safe.”
Harry added, “For kids, we have to do more to protect them because they don’t know any better, they don’t know any different.”
Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram.