While most of Meghan Markle’s royal tour speeches have been about women’s rights, today the Duchess of Sussex took some time to speak to volunteers at Live For Tomorrow, a mental health organization for young people, about the dangers of social media obsession. In an intimate chat at the Maranui Cafe in Wellington, New Zealand, she reportedly said that “your self-worth becomes really skewed when it’s all based on likes.”
Speaking about the negative effects of social media, particularly on younger generations, she continued: “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.”
Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have a tendency to portray perfection, and numerous studies suggest that negative social media comparisons can influence perceptions of body image, lead to lower self-esteem, and cause depression in young adults. What’s more, researchers recently coined the term “Snapchat dysmorphia,” a type of body dysmorphic disorder derived from one’s obsession with filtered images.
Prince Harry also chimed in on the impact of social media, saying, “Issues stemming from social media and gaming are a major problem for young people in the UK — and globally.” The soon-to-be-father added that we should better educate parents on the link between a person’s experiences online and mental health. “Fingers are often pointed at the parents, but that’s not always fair as they too need to be educated about these things,” he said.
With our lives so heavily enmeshed in social media, it’s important to recognize the impact it has. Markle, who shut down her social media accounts and lifestyle blog shortly after becoming engaged to Prince Harry, said it was “freeing” to not be on social media anymore. At an earlier appearance at Bondi Beach, she told a fan, “flattery and criticism run through the same filter.” #Truth.