The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke about the ripple effect of social media as they joined a group of young leaders from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. Speaking from their new home in Santa Barbara on Monday, Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 39, thanked participants for the work they are doing to use digital media as a force for good.
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WATCH: Harry and Meghan discuss digital as a force for good with young leaders
The Duchess spoke of the importance of having positive online experiences, particularly given the current pandemic. She said: "Everyone's mental and emotional wellbeing are perhaps more fragile than ever before, certainly with COVID and our dependability on devices right now in the absence of human interaction. People are going online more than ever before to feel community."
Rosie Thomas, Co-Founder of Project Rockit in Australia, stressed that everyone has a responsibility to help create the digital world that we want to be part of, saying: "When you mobilise young people with empathy and connect each other you lift that veil of anonymity online… If we only blame tech platforms we're actually removing the ability as humans to make a difference."
The Duchess agreed that a "key piece of the puzzle" is for individuals to not give into the noise of social media and to choose not to share negative social media posts further if they want to make a difference.
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Harry and Meghan spoke with young leaders from the QCT
Later in the discussion, Brighton Kaoma, Founder of Agents of Change Foundation in Zambia, went on to talk about the ripple effect of social media and the responsibility of individuals when they share information on online platforms: "Go that extra mile and understand the source of the information that you are about to share. You can never change the world just by using single tweets as a source of information… Realise that when you post online, you post to the world."
Meghan added that that global reach can also propel negativity online, saying: "When you look at what these platforms are capable of with that reach, and what that propels in terms of trolling… You can either train people to be cruel, or you can train people to be kind. It’s really that simple."
During the 30-minute discussion, Harry touched upon the purpose of the modern Commonwealth and the Queen's role in championing young people, saying: "I think everything my grandmother wanted to achieve when she took this huge responsibility on, she’s managed… hearing you guys, and knowing the broad spectrum that QCT engulfs, you’re the definition of the 21st century Commonwealth, and what it means to be part of it. You are there, standing for equality, for mutual respect, and for fairness."
Harry and Meghan at a roundtable discussion with the QCT in October 2019
The couple were also joined on the call by Hunter Johnson, Founder of The Man Cave in Australia, Vee Kativhu, Study & Empowerment YouTuber and Founder of ‘Empowered by Vee,' as well as the QCT's Chief Executive, Nicola Brentnall.
This was the second QCT online discussion attended by the Duke and Duchess, who are President and Vice-President of the QCT respectively.
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