Earlier this year, on the 15 February, the world was rocked by the unbelievably sad news that TV presenter Caroline Flack had died. Her untimely passing sparked the hashtag #BeKind to trend, as in the weeks leading up to he death Caroline has been plagued by trolls and negative comments on social media, as well as tabloid stories delving into her personal life. The simple message served as a reminder that kindness online can go an incredibly long way – both in the digital and the real world.
That same message is one Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry have urged the public to connect with numerous times since stepping away from their senior royal roles, with The Duchess even referring to herself as the "most trolled person in the world" during a recent podcast appearance.
Now, Meghan has shared a message lending her support for Social Media Kindness Day, which is set to take place for the first time this coming Monday (9 November) on Caroline's birthday. She would have been 41.
Meghan's message of support, also shared by royal correspondent Omid Scobie, was clear and poignant: "For so many, social media plays a big part of their daily life. We have access to it at the end of our finger tips, so it ought to be a kinder and safer place for all."
#SocialMediaKindnessDay🤟🏻 is being held on Monday in memory of @carolineflack1, who suffered horrendous trolling and abuse via social media. November 9 would have been the late TV host’s 41st birthday.
Duchess Meghan has lent her support to the initiative: https://t.co/Tm9sRbo4Dt
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) November 6, 2020
The Duchess continued, "It saddens me that in today's society Social Media Kindness Day is deemed necessary. But it absolutely is! I sincerely hope this much needed awareness day is a success. I fully support the initiative."
The topic of kindness online is one that Prince Harry chose to address when writing an essay (titled 'Social Media Is Dividing Us, Together We Can Redesign It') for Fast Company. In it, The Duke of Sussex aired his concerns about the social media landscape and how he worries about the way online interactions will impact on future generations – including his young son, Archie.
"Companies that purchase online ads must also recognise that our digital world has an impact on the physical world – on our collective health, on our democracies, on the ways we think and interact with each other, on how we process and trust information," wrote the royal. "Because, if we are susceptible to the coercive forces in digital spaces, then we have to ask ourselves—what does this mean for our children? As a father, this is especially concerning to me."
Let's hope that Social Media Kindness Day, which is calling for users to sign an online pledge, is the start of many more positive changes.
As always, our thoughts are with Caroline's friends and family.
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