Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined a group of young leaders to discuss social media and the role of the online world as a force for good in a recent video chat.
The discussion, which was chaired by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust’s chief executive Nicola Brentnall, focused on how we can be positive amid a world that can be constantly negative.
The group also touched on the wider goal of the Trust, which was launched to the public on the Queen’s 92nd birthday on April 21, 2018. It was gifted to her by the Duke of Sussex in recognition of her lifelong belief in young people as being good for the world.
Brentnall explained how the Queen had always believed in the Commonwealth as a force for good, with Harry saying of her comments: “You summarized it beautifully, Nicola.
“I think that’s everything my grandmother wanted to achieve when she took this huge responsibility on and she has managed. No one could have predicted how the world was going to change in such a short amount of time especially with the digital space. But hearing you guys, knowing the broad spectrum that’s the QCT involves, you guys are the definition of the 21st century Commonwealth and what it means to be part of it.
“You are there standing for equality, mutual respect, and fairness. And I think that’s something every single one of you should be very proud of.”
Meghan added, “From my standpoint, being newer to the world of the Commonwealth, I have lived in Canada for several years but it wasn’t until joining the family that I was able to meet so many young people throughout the Commonwealth – they came with a question, they always offered a solution.
“And that’s what I think is so inspiring and why I am incredibly proud to be able to work with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust but why is the continuation of the legacy of your grandmother.”
Meghan also spoke about the importance of making online experiences positive: “Everyone’s mental and emotional well-being 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.”
She then said, “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.”
Harry pointed out, “solutions is the most important thing I learnt in the Army,” adding: “Don’t come to the table with a problem unless you’ve got a solution. And I think this platform that you guys have created is just optimistic, right?
“That’s exactly what you guys need because there is a lot of negativity out there. There’s a lot of noise. And the experts describe it as an attention economy, which is basically just a shouting match and it’s sort of benefitting the wrong people. But with social media and the way that it can help so many individuals and groups be able to improve, be able to connect and be able to focus on the things that really matter and the things that bind us, rather than the things that divide us.”
Brighton Kaoma, founder of Agents of Change Foundation in Zambia; Hunter Johnson, founder of The Man Cave in Australia; Rosie Thomas, co-founder of Project Rockit in Australia; and, Vee Kativhu, Study & Empowerment YouTuber and founder of “Empowered by Vee” were also in the chat.