It’s very, very rare for Prince Harry to be criticized for something Meghan Markle has also done — but this week has brought us just that. In an interview with Sky News, royal correspondent Caroline Frost accused Prince Harry of hypocrisy for having an Instagram while also warning the public of the dangerous mental health effects of social media. Given the timing of the recent Sussex Royals Instagram reveal, Frost feels there’s some mixed messaging coming from Harry — and she’s not afraid to call him out.
Frost told Sky News that timing is really the key for her when it comes to Harry’s social media use. “We had Prince Harry telling a young audience ‘stay away from social media, it can damage your mental health, please live lives in balance and stop worrying about how you look,” Frost explained. “Literally the very next day they launched their Instagram account. So I think there’s a little bit of management perhaps that needs to be improved.”
Harry’s speech from April 2019 at a London YMCA certainly rang he alarm bells about the downsides of social media. “Social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol and it’s more dangerous because it’s normalized and there are no restrictions to it,” Harry contended, adding that it was important for “younger people coming through [to be] less connected to their phones.”
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Today in the UK, a critical new 24/7 text helpline has launched – @giveusashoutinsta This free text messaging helpline is a private, silent and trusted way, for those experiencing mental health challenges to find a safe space to seek help and support. This is an extension of the @heads_together initiative backed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Earlier last year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began supporting this vital program behind the scenes by hosting a meeting at Kensington Palace with contributors and partners. Last November, Their Royal Highnesses also made a surprise visit to meet with a group of Shout volunteers, and participated in a panel with mental health activist @bryonygordon hearing firsthand how the volunteers have found making the connection with vulnerable texters, a majority of whom are under 25, so rewarding – helping to get them through a moment of crisis to a calmer place, and giving them courage to find longer-term support. Powered by a team of trained volunteers, Shout has already quietly enlisted and trained 1,000 volunteers over the last 12 months, whom in turn have helped 60,000 people. SHOUT is modeled on @crisistextline in the US, which since 2013 has processed more than 100 million messages, Shout is the largest initiative of The Royal Foundation to date, in partnership with @heads_together. Tapping into the UK’s volunteer community, Shout aims to recruit 3,000 additional volunteers by the end of the year. Mobilizing a volunteer community with this innovative use of technology will go a long way in helping people get the critical help they need, often in the darkest of times, when those are privately and silently suffering and afraid to seek help. To sign up to volunteer, visit www.giveusashout.org Be the change you wish to see in the world.
While Frost may have a point about there being some unfortunate timing with the Sussex Royals Instagram release in April 2019, the fact is that Harry and Meghan aren’t quite using their page in the typical way. Their Instagram largely functions to promote various charities they support and highlights a new cause every month that to which the Sussex royals are committed. Of course, there’s the occasional royal baby pic or wedding throwback — but hey, that’s just giving the people what they want.
We fully support Harry’s message about the dangers of social media, of course. But if that means living in a world where the only Archie pics are in official press releases? Sorry Frost — you lost us there.