Prince William cautioned young women about body images they see online in surprise remarks to students about the challenges they face growing up in the internet era.
“I worry for you girls,” William, 35, told students at Burlington Danes Academy in West London, where he surprised the students at an assembly.
“The touched-up pictures are not real,” William said. “Don’t try to recreate them or think that’s what you’ve got to aim for. There’s a lot of fakeness online so don’t worry about that.”
William cautioned young teenage girls, who are often subjected to body image issues that can result in anorexia, bulimia and other mental health issues, to ignore airbrushed photos that often distort females bodies.
While not addressing any celebrities by name, he told the students he wanted them to understand they shouldn’t hold themselves to unrealistic expectations.
He also addressed boys at the assembly, encouraging them to share their feelings even if they feel reluctant to do so.
“It’s really important for boys. We’re not very good at talking about our emotions and how we feel," he said. "Girls have got a little bit better and, boys, we’ve really got to work hard on being able to talk to friends, family and trusted people about how we feel.”
The second in line to the throne has shared that cyberbullying and children’s mental health are issues he cares about deeply since becoming a father.
William released a first-of-its-kind online cyberbullying code last November, called "Stop, Speak, Support." William released the code after convening a yearlong task force, the Royal Foundation’s Taskforce on Cyberbullying, comprised of officials from leading social media and technology firms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Google.