This year, both Prince William and Kate Middleton have been speaking out about the struggles many children may have with mental health.
Most recently, during a surprise visit to Burlington Danes Academy in west London, Prince William talked to teens about cyberbullying, catfishing and the Internet’s effect on the mental health of its users. The Duke of Cambridge said to the assembly that he finds unrealistic photoshopped images online to be especially damaging to young girls. “The touched-up pictures are not real. Don’t try to re-create them or think that’s what you’ve got to aim for,” he warned the teens.
In the Q&A session at Burlington Danes Academy, Prince William honored the UK’s annual Children’s Mental Health Week‘s theme of “Being Ourselves,” whether that’s online or out in the real world. “There’s a lot of fakeness online so don’t worry about that,” Prince William told the assembly of over 200 students. “There’s so many things going on. You’re going to be bamboozled,” he continued, emphasizing the damaging nature of catfishing. He also explained his anti-cyberbullying campaign before chatting with social media influencers about his new endeavor to end cyberbullying and encourage children, particularly boys, to discuss their feelings.
Not only is Prince William looking out for the youth in an attempt to prevent them from being cyberbullied or catfished, he also told the teens that he wants them to stay offline as much as possible. “Don’t spend all day online. Seriously, don’t,” he said to the crowd, after he was asked for his advice for how to improve mental health. Whether or not any of the teens at the school’s assembly looked up from their phones long enough to heed Prince William’s advice remains to be seen, but balance is key when it comes to dividing your time between the world of social media, and the outside world in which you live according to the Duke of Cambridge. “For your mental health, get outside, come away from the screen. By all means be on a screen but don’t be on it all day because it will only bring you into another world,” Prince William said.