Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary addressed the issue of cyber-bullying and sexual predators targeting children, at a Melbourne charity dinner.
The charity – The Alannah And Madeline Foundation - is an organisation that works to keep children safe from violence. Crown Princess Mary is its international patron.
The dinner was held at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Art Deco. Dressed in a black cocktail dress, and accompanied by her husband, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary told the 80 guests she has a similar foundation in Denmark, called The Mary Foundation. That one teaches children to have respect for one another.
“As children are the true essence of our future, the importance of providing them with the most basic right of having a safe and happy childhood can not be underestimated,” she explained.
“Children use the internet and their mobile phones to send harmful messages which marginalise children and can have devastating consequences,” she continued.
“As with bullying, cyber-bullying can lead to social isolations for those effected by it to a point where they can feel at the edge of their social network, and at the very worse of cases at the edge of life.”
The Danish royal said the community needed to ensure children were safe online.
“It’s frightening to know that 20 per cent of children online will be targeted by an online predator or pedophile each year,” she said.
“And, alarmingly, most children don’t tell adults about it for fear of losing access to their telephone or internet.”
National patron Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has at the dinner to welcome Mary back to her native Australia. He also spoke out against cyber-bullying.
“The new problem of cyber-bullying has become something of an epidemic.
“It requires therefore all of us at the level of being parents, at the level of community leadership, at the level of political leadership, to work together against a problem which now knows no geographic frontiers.”
“No child in any playground, in any classroom in any school in Australia should at any time fear for themselves or their safety, or for their dignity,” Rudd said.
Before the dinner, Mary thrilled the Alannah and Madeline Foundation by showing up unannounced at its Melbourne headquarters.
“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to find out more about how The Alannah And Madeline Foundation initiative works and to talk about our programs at The Mary Foundation,” Crown Princess Mary said.
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation was set up after the two sisters, aged six and three, along with their mother, died when a gunman opened fire in Tasmania on April 28th 1996.
To learn more about the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, click here
To see video of Crown Princess Mary’s visit to the charity offices, click here