On Tuesday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry participated in a candid discussion with a panel of parents to mark World Mental Health Day, highlighting the real-world consequences that online life can have for children.
During the first in-person event for their Archewell Foundation, a summit titled “Mental Wellness in the Digital Age,” the couple took the stage in New York City alongside parents who had experienced tragedy related to their kids’ social media use. The Sussexes had been working with the families for the past year, according to People, and have been meeting with tech companies to discuss how to better protect children on social media.
“There’s a reason why no one else is working in this space, the size and the power of these companies can make you feel scared and helpless… we all understand that,” Harry said of their advocacy in the area.
“The priority here is to again turn pain into purpose and provide as much support as well as a spotlight and a platform for these parents to come together, to heal, to grieve and to also collectively focus on solutions so that no other family anywhere has to go through what they’ve been through,” he continued.
Markle shared that when they initially met the families, “it was impossible not to be in tears hearing their stories because it’s just that devastating.”
Markle and Harry have two children, 4-year-old Archie and 2-year-old Lilibet. Markle discussed the purpose of social media as a community builder, as well as its potential to become dangerous for children.
“There’s no way to hear that and not try to help these families have their stories be heard,” she said.
Markle called being a mom “the most important thing in my entire life.”
“They say being a parent, the days are long but the years are short, so it worries me, but I’m also given a lot of hope and energy by the progress we’ve made in the past year being able to have these incredible parents, these survivors of these experiences, share their stories and the more information gathering we’re able to do, the more we can move the needle a little bit,” she said.
“Everyone is affected by the online world and social media. we all just want to feel safe. I’m confident that with more ears and awareness and visibility of what is really happening, we can make some significant change together.”
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