Social media can ‘skew’ young people’s sense of self-worth, says Meghan

The Duchess of Sussex has said young people and their sense of self-worth can become “really skewed” by social media.

Meghan was speaking to youngsters about how unrealistic images on sites such as Instagram can have an impact on mental health.

The duke and the duchess attended a beachside cafe in Wellington, New Zealand, and were praised for their efforts in highlighting mental health issues.

Meghan spoke to staff and volunteers from Live for Tomorrow, an online youth programme focused on reaching millennials with messages of positive change, and said: “Young people find it so difficult.

“You see photos on social media and you don’t know whether she’s born with it or maybe it’s a filter.

“Your judgment of your sense of self-worth becomes really skewed when it’s all based on likes.”

The couple spent 45 minutes discussing mental wellbeing and learnt about initiatives and programmes supporting mental health in New Zealand, with a focus on youth.

The duke also spoke about social media, suggesting that parents needed educating as much as children.

Crowds were out in force to welcome the duke and duchess
Crowds were out in force to welcome the duke and duchess

He said: “Issues stemming from social media and gaming are a major problem for young people in the UK and globally.

“Fingers are often pointed at the parents but that’s not always fair as they too need to be educated about these things.”

The Sussexes were at the Maranui cafe in New Zealand’s capital, the latest stop on their 16-day tour which has also seen them travel to Australia, Fiji and Tonga.

Harry spoke about his own struggles with mental health during the conversations, admitting that it took him years to confront his own inner turmoil.

He said: “It took me about three or four years to start the journey and then after that you still have to find the right people to speak to.”

Harry praised Voices of Hope for their 2017 viral video Dear Suicidal Me, which features young people who have overcome mental health issues reading their own suicide notes.

Chatting with Jazz Thornton and Gen Mora, founders of Voices of Hope — which Jazz and Gen launched to provide hope for those struggling with mental health issues. #RoyalVisitNZpic.twitter.com/GGqxxM7GS8

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018

The couple heard the video saved the life of a 15-year-old young girl in Canada.

“Her mother contacted us and said that her daughter was planning to take her life but then saw the video and went to speak to her instead,” said Jazz Thornton, co-founder of Voices of Hope.

“It saved her life.”

Harry said: “It’s amazing what you have done.

“I think anyone who has overcome mental health problems often go out of their own way to help others.”