Meghan Markle and Prince Harry talk about parenting and protecting children’s mental health in the digital age

In the week of World Mental Health Day (October 10) and International Day of the Girl Child (October 11), Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have focused on the mental health of vulnerable people most of us.

On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in New York City to attend the first in-person event for their three-year-old organization, the Archewell Foundation Parent Summit: Mental health in the digital age.’

As People magazine reports, the couple joined an emotional group of parents who have experienced tragic loss related to their children’s use of social media. As Harry pointed out after taking the stage, the pair were also engaged with parents off stage.

Harry said as he and Meghan joined the panel. We know it’s not easy for you to be here, so thank you very much.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (left) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (right), speak on stage at the “Archewell Foundation Parents Summit: Mental Health in the Digital Age ” on October 10 in New York City. (Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Healthy Minds Project)

“A year ago, we met with some of the families,” Meghan added, “and at the time, it was impossible not to cry hearing their stories because it was so devastating.

Acknowledging the challenges of raising children in the digital age, in which bullies, predators and other dangers can fuel the widespread reach of social networks, people The Sussexes also admitted their concerns as parents for son Archie and daughter Lilibet.

“As parents, even though our children are literally only 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old, social media is not going away,” Meghan noted. And by design, there was one entry [point] that was supposed to be positive and create community, but something was destroyed, and there was no way to hear that without trying to help these families tell their stories.”

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Speaking about the purpose of the summit, Harry added: “I think for us, for me and my wife, for kids growing up in the digital age, the priority here again is to transform pain into purpose and provide as much support as possible. as a bright spot and a platform for these parents to come together, heal, grieve and also focus on solutions together so that no other family anywhere has to go through what they did experience.”

Those parents reportedly include Toney and Brandy Roberts, who participated in the Archewell Foundation’s Parent Summit and previously shared their story with CBS 60 Minutes. The Robertses’ 14-year-old daughter, Englyn, committed suicide in 2020 after struggling with mental health issues; apparently she came up with this method from an Instagram video. The video in question circulated well into the following year before being removed by the platform; The Robertses filed a lawsuit against parent company Meta in 2022.

Meghan was asked by TV personality, Project Healthy Minds board member and event moderator Carson Daly how stories like the Roberts family’s have affected her as a mother.

“Of course, being a mother is the most important thing in my entire life outside of being this person’s wife,” she said, acknowledging Harry. “But I will say that I feel lucky that our children are at a fairly young age, so this is not in our immediate future, but I also feel scared at the way it continues to change. change and this will be before our eyes. .”

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“People say that being a parent means the days are long and the years are short, so I’m worried; But I’m also filled with so much hope and energy by the progress we’ve made over the past year in being able to have these wonderful parents, survivors of these experiences, share share their stories and the more information we can gather, the more we can move the needle a little bit,” Meghan continued. “Everyone is influenced by the online world and social media. We all just want to feel safe. I am confident that with more ears, awareness and visibility into what is really happening, together we can make some significant changes.”

Also participating in the panel was Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who provided guidance on how to protect children from the dark side of social media.

“What we need is cooperation and collaboration with other parents,” Murthy said. “Because it’s a lot easier to do if you’re part of a group of parents who say we’re going to do this for our kids. Whenever one of our kids says, ‘I’m the only one not on it,’ we can say, No, Harry and Meghan’s kids aren’t on it either!’”

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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