Published 14 June 2016

Leading Technology companies are announced as founding members of The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying

The C.E.O.s of Britain's leading telecoms companies, UK and European heads of the world's largest technology firms, and World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee are among the leaders that have been announced today as founding members of The Duke of Cambridge's Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.

The Founding members are senior representatives from Google, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, BT, EE, Sky, BBC, TalkTalk, Telefonica, Virgin Media, and Vodafone, alongside Sir Tim and Lady Rosemary Berners-Lee  and The Baroness Kidron, O.B.E. They will work with experts from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, NSPCC, Internet Matters, Diana Award and UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

The Taskforce's formation was announced in April and it met for the first time at Kensington Palace in May, chaired by entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, C.B.E., with The Duke of Cambridge in attendance. Over the next year, they will work together to harness technology and make it easier for children and their parents to get help if they experience bullying online, across all digital platforms.

This ambitious project is supported by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Duke will discuss this topic in a speech to the Founders Forum on Thursday.

A spokesman for The Duke of Cambridge said:

"The Duke is pleased that so many leaders and experts in the technology and communications have agreed to join his Cyberbullying Taskforce. The Duke knows that social media and other technologies are creating significant positive opportunities for millions of young people. But as a parent, he knows that many people worry about how to protect their children from the new avenues for bullying that technology is creating. He hopes the Taskforce can help share the best practice that is emerging and put in place new standards so that the Internet remains something young people and their parents can embrace with confidence."

Studies suggest that some 35% of 11-17 year-olds have experienced some form of cyberbullying during their lives, and 40% have witnessed cyberbullying within a social network they use.

Cyberbullying, in common with other forms of bullying, can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of children and young people. The effect of technology means the impact of bullying is instantly multiplied through social networks, and can feel harder for young people to escape.

While most social platforms and service providers do have systems in place for reporting or removing abusive content, there is no common industry standard or commitment to tackle the issue, nor is there an existing single repository of information for users on how to address it.

The Taskforce will take existing models of good practice for reporting abusive content on individual networks and develop a set of commitments for the industry to sign up to, to collectively tackle the issue. It will consider the development of a resource of up-to- date practical support and information for young people affected by cyberbullying, with advice on how to get help. It will also work to help parents and adults to better understand cyberbullying, and give them the confidence to find appropriate help and resources to support children affected by the issue. The Taskforce will also be supported by a panel of young people aged 11-15, to ensure it remains engaged in current online trends. 

Brent Hoberman, C.B.E. said:

"This Taskforce will bring together the commitment, talent and expertise of the technology industry to tackle cyberbullying and the terrible effect it has on children. 

The future of our children is inextricably linked with the Internet. It is our responsibility to ensure that they grow up confident and happy online so that they can make the most of the extraordinary potential it offers.

The full list of founding Taskforce members is:

Brent Hoberman, C.B.E.

Gavin Patterson,

C.E.O., BT

Marc Allera,

C.E.O., EE

Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, C.B.E.,

V.P. EMEA, Facebook

Matt Brittin,

President EMEA, Google

Jeremy Darroch,

C.E.O., Sky

Baroness Harding of Winscombe,

C.E.O., TalkTalk

Ronan Dunne,

C.E.O., Telefonica

Jeroen Hoencamp,

C.E.O., Vodafone UK

Sir Tim and Lady Rosemary Berners-Lee,

World Wide Web Foundation

Peter Wanless, C.B.,

C.E.O., NSPCC

Alice Webb,

Head of Children's Services, BBC

Lauren Seager-Smith,

National Co-Ordinator, Anti-Bullying Alliance

Carolyn Bunting,

C.E.O., Internet Matters

Tessy Ojo,

C.E.O., Diana Award

Professor Sonia Livingstone, O.B.E.,

Executive Board, UKCCIS

Tim Levene,

Digital Advisor, The Royal Foundation

The Baroness Kidron, O.B.E.,

Founder, 5Rights

Evan Spiegel,

Co-Founder and C.E.O., Snapchat

Tom Mockridge,

C.E.O., Virgin Media

Omid Kordestani

Executive Chair, Twitter