Harry, Meghan issue desperate plea to 'keep our children safe' from internet harm

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have issued an emotional statement on their Archewell website pleading with people to "keep our children safe".

It comes as a US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into child privacy is underway. On Wednesday (US time), the chief executives of Meta, TikTok, Snap, Discord and X - formerly known as Twitter - testified about the risks their products pose to young people. During that questioning, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the families in the hearing room.

Now Harry and Meghan have joined the growing chorus of voices unhappy at how vulnerable children can be online, thanks to the behaviour of the tech companies.

"We applaud the bravery and determination of the thousands of parents around the country whose advocacy resulted in this hearing," the statement said.

"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'. 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."

Alongside their statement, Harry and Meghan posted video from their appearance at the Parents' Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age, which was held in New York in October, 2023.

At that summit, the couple took to the stage and revealed their hopes and fears for their own young children Archie and Lilibet when they are old enough to be able to go online.

At the time, Harry spoke about the importance of companies and parents having to protect youth online "because they don't know any better".

Meghan expressed worries that as "social media isn't going away," the onus fell on them.

"I feel fortunate that our children are quite young, so this isn't in our immediate future. But I also feel frightened by how it's continuing to change. And this will be in front of us. They say, being a parent, the days are long but the years are short."