Social media can be hard to break away from, Kate tells students

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken about the addictive nature of social media, saying it can be "hard to break away from".

Kate was visiting the Reach Academy Feltham in west London when she made the comments to a group of teenage students.

After the Duchess heard from a female pupil who said she had struggled with the pressures of social media, Kate said: "It can get so addictive as well.

"It becomes part of your lifestyle, doesn't it? It's hard to break away from that, but having the support and learning, the good ways of using social media, because it's great in so many contexts, but it's also being able to sort of monitor your own use of it as well, which is great."

During the visit, Kate met pupils and parents who had been supported emotionally by mental health charity Place2Be.

The charity provides mental health services to 282 schools in the UK, helping children experiencing issues such as bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.

Royal visit to Reach Academy Feltham
The Duchess is amazed by one little girl during her visit (Eddie Mulholland/PA)

On her visit to the Reach Academy, Kate also met Bear, a four-month-old puppy training to be a therapy dog.

When trained, Bear will be used to calm down students who are experiencing heightened emotion.

He will also help children struggling to learn to read, as pupils may feel more comfortable stumbling on a word while reading aloud to him than to an adult.

The Duchess, who is pregnant with her third child, watched as students trained Bear, and stroked him.

She also visited the nursery section of the school, which teaches pupils all the way through to sixth form, helping children paint and make pigs out of paper plates and marshmallows.

Royal visit to Reach Academy Feltham
A pupil demonstrates his painting skills to Kate (Eddie MulhollandPA)

There she met parents who had benefited from the support offered by Place2Be.

Kate, who wore a dress by Seraphine and a coat by Hobbs, has been a royal patron for the charity since 2013.

Reach Academy principal Ed Vainker said he believed that schools need to work closely with families for children to get the best out of school.

Royal visit to Reach Academy Feltham
Kate wore a dress by Seraphine and a coat by Hobbs (Eddie Mulholland/PA)

When asked what he said to Kate as she looked round, he said: "I think that a key message was we got the 15th best GCSE results in England this year, and I think there's a narrative that schools are either great for academics or they're really holistic and support children's well-being.

"One of the things I really wanted to impress upon the Duchess was we believe those two things can completely go together."

Royal visit to Reach Academy Feltham
(Eddie Mulholland/PA)

We'd like to wish our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cambridge a very Happy Birthday and thank her for everything that she does to raise awareness of the importance of children and young people's mental health

-- Place2Be (@Place2Be) January 9, 2018

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