Harry: Social media ‘as addictive as drugs’
...and prince says social media more addictive than drugs or alcohol
PRINCE Harry yesterday suggested the ‘irresponsible’ computer game Fortnite should be banned.
Speaking at a meeting on youth mental health issues, the father-to-be also claimed social media was more addictive than drugs or alcohol.
And he said parents were at a loss as to how to handle the challenges of digital media. ‘ A game like Fortnite for instance may not be so good for children,’ he said.
‘Parents have got their hands up – they don’t know what to do about it.
‘It’s like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken. Fortnite shouldn’t be allowed. Where is the benefit in having that game in your household?
‘It’s created to addict – an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.
‘Growing up in today’s world, social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol. Yet it’s more dangerous because it’s normalised and there are no restrictions to it. We are in a mind-altering time.’
Fortnite, which launched in 2017, is said to have 250million registered players, including England football stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli. It is free but offers paid-for extras – earning an estimated £1.8billion for its US developer Epic Games last year.
Although intended for players aged 12 and older, many younger children have become addicted.
Fortnite’s popular Battle Royale version sees 100 players pitted against each other, creating superhero avatars for a fight to the death using crossbows, rifles and even grenade launchers.
Harry’s comments about Fortnite and social media came a day after he and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, launched their own Instagram site which has gathered more than two million followers in 24 hours. Kensington Palace had a photographer and a social media co-ordinator at yesterday’s event to create online content.
Aides rejected any suggestion of hypocrisy, saying that while the prince had no regrets about attacking social media, he also acknowledged that it could be a force for good and bring people and communities together when it wasn’t being abused.
Kensington Palace has been forced to take action against vile slurs being posted by trolls about the Duchesses of Sussex and Cambridge on its social media sites.
Speaking at the South Ealing YMCA in west London, Harry said: ‘We are in an exciting time because everybody in this room has an opportunity to actually make a real difference so that young people coming through are less connected to their phones.
‘They can be as connected as they want to be but they have to have human connection as well.
‘Without that human connection when you do have a problem you have nowhere to go and the only place you might go is online and you probably getting bullied.’
The prince unexpectedly took part in a ballet class for four- to six-year-olds in an activity room at the YMCA and watched as the children performed two dances.
He told the group that they all deserved gold stars.
He also greeted three-month-old Naz Hamed whose proud mother Maria said: ‘I think he has babies on his mind’ – referring to the fact that Harry and wife Meghan are soon to become parents.
Money-spinner: A scene from the game Fortnite Prince of poise: Harry takes to the floor and meets young dancers and their families