Earlier this week, Prince William made a surprise visit to Ark Burlington Danes Academy in London to speak to students about mental health, cyberbullying, and body image. This isn’t the first time the royal has opened up about such topics, but since he addressed these teens directly, it may his most impactful yet.
The Duke of Cambridge was seen chatting with a pair of students when he expressed his concerns for how the internet may impact the way they see themselves.
According to TODAY, Prince William said:
“I worry for you girls. The touched-up pictures are not real. Don’t try to recreate them or think that’s what you’ve got to aim for. There’s a lot of fakeness online so don’t worry about that. That’s a lot. You must be aware of that, it’s a lot of pressure. There’s so many things going on.”
He couldn’t be more right. Both young girls and boys are constantly being bombarded with images of perfection across all social media platforms. It’s so difficult to differentiate what is realistic and what is edited, which is why it’s even more encouraging to see someone like William taking charge of the conversation.
In his address to the school auditorium, the Duke continued to share his messages of empowerment to the teens. He suggested that they limit their time on the internet as it could really improve their mental well-being.
“For your mental health, get outside, come away from the screen,” he said. “It’s important that you balance the time.”
I can’t help but agree. As someone who has suffered from anxiety for years, I know what a difference spending time outdoors makes when you’re feeling overwhelmed by screens at all times.
Prince William continued his speech, encouraging boys to be more open with their emotions and noting that they should share their feelings.
“We’re not very good at talking about our emotions and how we feel,” he said. “We’ve really got to work hard on being able to talk to friends, family, and trusted people about how we feel.”
The soon-to-be father of three understands this better than anyone and has opened up about this before, referring to the struggles he and Prince Harry faced when trying to cope with the loss of their mother, Princess Diana.
It’s so inspiring to see the Duke tackling important issues like this directly with teens who need it most. I’m sure they were moved to receive advice from him, and I hope they truly take his words to heart.
Keep up the good work, Prince William!