Prince William warns that social media can harm self-worth: 3 times the royals got trolled
The Duke of Cambridge has warned of the toll that social media can take on children and their self-esteem. It’s a lesson that he and the royal family are still learning, as they are routinely the target of online trolls and social-media mockery.
Prince William made the remarks at a charity event in north London on Monday night, which was in aid of the Children’s Trust and Skillforce. The Children’s Trust supports minors with brain injuries, while Skillforce provides mentoring schemes for children.
Today’s children face more pressure than those of past generations and are “tested more than ever before,” he said.
“On top of this, there is a sense of being ‘on call’ 24/7 through social media, and the subsequent strains this can have on relationships, home life and, ultimately, a child’s sense of their own self-worth. It can all take its toll,” explained the duke.
Prince William has been working with his wife Princess Kate and his brother Prince Harry to combat the stigma attached to children’s mental-health problems.
“Role-modelling and giving a child the tools of courage, discipline and resilience are a demonstration of great love and commitment to that child’s success in life. If you are not taught these skills at a young age, it can be very, very difficult to learn them as an adult,” he said.
Resilience is a quality required by the royal family, who have the minutiae of their lives pored over by the tabloid press. The internet has provided yet another platform on which to pass judgement on their outfits, choice of partners, and indeed the whole point of the monarchy.
1. Prince George’s privilege
On Monday, a woman accused of a “distastefully” describing Kate and William’s son Prince George as the face of “white privilege” was denied compensation after being sacked by the British Council.
Angela Gibbins, who earned £80,000 ($105,000) a year as head of global estates at the charity, which promotes Britain’s image worldwide, was sacked for gross misconduct following her “distasteful and personal attack” on the heir to the throne.
The case related to a picture of Prince George, which was originally posted by the band Dub Pistols with the caption: “I know he’s only two years old, but Prince George looks like a f***ing d***head.”
The meme sparked a debate in the comments section, in which Gibbins chipped in, saying: “White privilege. That cheeky grin is the (already locked-in) innate knowledge that he’s Royal, rich, advantaged and will never know any difficulties or hardships in life.
“Let’s find photos of 3yo Syrian refugee children and see if they look alike, eh?”
2. Overpopulation? How many kids do you have?
Last week, William himself was trolled online over his comments about overpopulation. Although the duke was speaking about the protection of wildlife, social-media users couldn’t help pointing out that he and Kate are expecting a third child.
It also got pretty nasty for Kate on social media when she announced that she was pregnant again in September. Some anti-monarchy trolls called the unborn child a “parasite,” because of the cost to taxpayers of maintaining the family.
3. Racist smear?
Kensington Palace was forced to issue an unprecedented statement last year, approved by Prince Harry, denouncing the “wave of abuse” to which his girlfriend Meghan Markle and her family were subjected before the relationship was even confirmed.
“Some of this [harassment] has been very public,” the palace’s statement said. “The smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”