Prince Harry: People spend too much time online, they’re suffering from ‘mental fatigue’

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Here are some photos of Prince Harry in Copenhagen this week. He went to Denmark on a two-day official trip, and it seemed to go pretty well. He charmed Queen Margrethe, he spent time with cute babies, he met a lot of friendly Danish people and in general, it seemed like a very breezy and low-key trip. Have you noticed that Harry just rolls that way? When William and Kate are traveling, even if everything is on-schedule and on-agenda, there is still a very fraught air about them, like everyone is worried that sh-t could fall apart at any moment, as soon as a strong wind lifts Kate’s skirt. I’m sure Harry’s trips will feel different when he marries Meghan, but I also think Meghan will be more like an equal partner to Harry during events. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, does anyone else find it odd that young, hip Prince Harry doesn’t like technology all that much? Technically, Harry is Millennial, although I would argue that both he and William are more Xennial. But Harry seems especially wary of technology, social media and he doesn’t like that kids are spending all of their time on their phones and online. He brought it up again when he was in Denmark:

Prince Harry is speaking out on the dangers of spending too much time on social media. On Thursday, the prince kicked off day two of his visit to Denmark with a visit to the Lagkagehuset bakery in Copenhagen, where he opened up about the effects of social media on young people’s mental health.

Addressing ambassadors for the “One of Us” mental health campaign — which provides support to young people with mental health issues — the prince said, “People are spending far too much time online and it’s like a mental running machine that they can’t get off. You wouldn’t put your body through such a workout,” he said during the event. “I’m the last person to say ban it but people are suffering from mental fatigue and getting burnt out. We all need to talk to each other more.”

[From People]

I mean… he’s not wrong. People do need to put down their friggin’ phones. They need to spend a day – or maybe just an evening – offline, reading a book or going out to dinner or just existing out in the world without their phones or their computers. Do you think there’s a “mental fatigue” aspect to it? I’ve read articles about the mental health aspects of social media specifically, like the debate over the destructive nature of Instagram culture or Facebook culture or whatever. But is Harry right? Is it a situation where we’re all just fatigued from being online and on the phone all the time?

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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40 Responses to “Prince Harry: People spend too much time online, they’re suffering from ‘mental fatigue’”

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  1. Harryg says:

    It’s true.

    • Mermaid says:

      So true. I just took my kids’ iPads away (they are 7 and 10) for an indefinite time because they were spending too much time on them. They need to spend time reading, playing, exercising, and doing creative things. It’s been about a month now and I totally see a difference.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Daniel of Sweden has talked about how they limit the kids time on ipads and other devices, especially 5 year old Estelle. He also does work related to getting outside, exercising, healthy eating, etc. He and Estelle did a cute video a few weeks ago about how to turn a trip to the park into an obstacle course to increase your workout.

    • Sabrine says:

      He’s absolutely correct. I watch women on the bus. They’re on their phone. Eventually they might put in back in their bag. About three minutes pass. They look a little fidgety and uneasy. The hand goes in the bag and out comes the phone again. It’s like a drug addict needing a fix….kind of sad, really. You hardly ever see anyone reading a book anymore.

      • Olive says:

        meh, people read books on phones or tablets nowadays. Paper books are nice, but plenty of people read ebooks exclusively; you just can’t tell they’re reading a book by looking at them like you used to be able to!

      • Island_girl says:

        Reading on the bus is a necessity. I don’t think that’s what hes referring to.

  2. Enough Already says:

    It actually disturbs sleep patterns so yeah, no argument.

  3. HH says:

    Tweet the other day summed it up perfectly (paraphrasing):

    The internet used to be an escape from the real world and now the real world is an escape from the internet.

  4. Serene Wolf says:

    Dude is a fuqing genius.

  5. QueenB says:

    I mean which activity isnt bad if you over do it? Most peoples lives including professional revolve around staring at screens and we dont really know the long term effects of that. I’d say its probably not the best.

  6. Jess says:

    I completely agree and think people are overstimulated and can’t put the things down, myself included sometimes. I’m planning to downgrade soon, I wanna go back to a simple phone with little internet access, like a flip phone. My husband thinks I’m crazy because he’s a software engineer and loves all things tech, but I never wanted an iPhone. I know myself and knew I’d waste so much time on it, then my dad gets me one for Christmas years ago after I told him not to. I mean, sure it does a lot of wonderful things for us and knowledge is at our fingertips, but I’m less connected with friends and family now. Seeing them online gives me a false sense of “catching up” and I rarely see them, then when I do see them half of them are stuck in a phone, ugh.

    I could go on for hours ranting….I really hate technology lol

  7. Mumzy says:

    Absolutely. When an assistive device becomes something to which people are addicted it’s no longer assistive…it’s controlling. Studies have been around for years showing that addicted people have physical withdrawal symptoms when separated from their gadgets. Users have a false sense of improved connectedness with others when actually they are increasingly disconnected in reality. Kids, in particular are vulnerable to the negative aspects of gadget use.

    • still_sarah says:

      @ Mumzy : I worry that with all the time people spend online, they don’t spend any time actually talking to other people or connecting with their environment (natural or otherwise). And that lack of connection to people and their environment is what worries me. People are “there” but they are not really “there”.

      It’s like the shopping network shows. I used to joke that they were fake interactive – from a safe distance where no one could see you and you had complete control over coming and going.

  8. perplexed says:

    He’s not wrong, but if he’s talking about severe mental illness I don’t think simply unplugging is going to “cure” it.

    I think his suggestions about getting off social media work if you suffer from very mild mental health problems that are situational, not chemical.

    Anyway, I think what he’s saying is kind of obvious…not ground-breaking or extremely observational. I don’t disagree with him, but then…I’m not sure I get the point of him pointing out the obvious. If he talked about his own experiences with unplugging like Aziz Ansari did, I’d get the point of his speech. But I’m not sure if he, as a prince, ever needed to be plugged in.

  9. Alexis says:

    There’s a great book that talks about phone/media usage that I found to be fascinating.

    https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Our-Disconnect-Teenagers-Technology/dp/1585428558

  10. MissMarierose says:

    It’s absolutely true. I finally hit my limit last week on Twitter and it’s basically due to the daily shit show that is the Trump administration. It’s just nonstop!

    • CityGirl says:

      MissMarierose – me too!!! My online usage has increased dramatically since Trump…..so has my TV news and political commentary watching….and it has all left me drained, exhausted and depressed. I want to go back to my better days of sitcoms and procedural shows :o (

  11. Blaire Carter says:

    I don’t like him. Not a troll, just my opinion…

  12. Milla says:

    Oh just remembered when his fb account was hacked… It was funny. Also made me realize that i have to be careful about social media.

  13. Katherine says:

    Ok, I’m just a bit annoyed. When I was a kid, people used to say how burying your head in books was bad for the new generation, how books tear us away from relationsips and real life experiences and at the same time lead to us burning out mentally because it’s such a brain workout. And now we are advised to ‘read a book’. Just – COME ON. It’s just a pastime, don’t generalize cases of overuse onto the rest of the population who are probably using it quite sparingly.

    • Betsy says:

      But it’s not just a pasttime. I get that books were the old thing people were worrie about, but that required concentration, focus and a whole host of other things. There’s not too much on our phones, email and internet that requires that (at least in our downtime – work stuff still tends to command one’s full attention).

    • Meghan M says:

      I have never seen a majority of people running around holding a book in their hand, reading while they are walking and wherever they are.

  14. notasugarhere says:

    Queen Margrethe II is looking lovely but more fragile to me. Her spine issues and her husband’s health are taking a toll.

  15. Betsy says:

    I know Harry’s a royal and there are problematic issues, but his ease with others is just something to behold.

    And I don’t make the cutoff, but Xennial says perfectly where I fit! Thanks for the link, Kaiser.

  16. Enough Already says:

    I will say this – the level of connectivity that the internet affords us and the speed with which that process takes place has been a God-send to social and civil movements. The disenfranchised and marginalized have more of a voice, power structures have more eyes on them, social proofing means that egregious mistreatment of peoples is documented and prevents the status quo from hijacking/distorting the narrative and rewriting history, like minded people who care about justice and equality can share and disseminate ideas and protocols more easily etc etc. Okay so she rolls her eyes when we tell her no phones at the dinner table but my 15 year old niece and her generation are more socially proactive, more empathetic, more culturally aware, more tolerant and more woke than any previous generation, imo.

  17. Kersplasha says:

    I just wanted to give a shout out to the Xennial’s. I heard about that term recently and it 100% encompasses my experience. I am 1977 and my sister is 1975 and she is absolutely a boomer. I am so happy to have something describe my experience better. And so concerned for my kids experience growing up smack dab in the middle of technology. There is no doubt that we are all suffering from mental fatigue. I’m trying to make it a habit to spend time away from my phone every evening after starting at a screen all day long at work.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Not to nitpick but your sister at 1977 is clearly a Gen X er. Boomers are 1945-65.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        To nitpick even further! : ) US baby boom births 1946-1964 (Canada classes it from 46-65).

        I have a relative who was born in 1939 and she decided she was a Baby Boomer too. That was really pushing it!

    • a reader says:

      Um…. 1975 is not boomer, that’s smack in the middle of Gen X. I’m 1973 and in NO WAY a boomer.

    • Kersplasha says:

      LOL whoops I totally meant to type my sister is a total gen x er, not a boomer. Strike one up for mental fatigue.

  18. reverie says:

    I agree. I feel pulled in so many directions all the time because of notifications… emails, sales, comments, likes, people texting me random things, being tagged, researching things, scheduling etc. It’s really hard to focus because it’s like running a million tabs in your head as well. And the thing is… none of it matters or is essential to my day.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Ditto. Just being expected to remember everybody’s preferred mode is exhausting.

  19. Annie says:

    It’s true. The worst part for me is that I do read books, I do go to the gym, I do go out… and I still find the time to spend online. And it’s too much time. I never just chill. I’m always online and reading news and stories. Not a huge fan of FB or Snapchat, but I’m pretty much everywhere else.

    Also, with all the natural disasters, shootings, Weinstein stories, Trump and all the bad news going on it definitely makes us more anxious and sad to be online all the time. You want to know what’s going on but before you know it you’re down the rabbit whole of very depressing videos on Youtube. Yesterday I spent over an hour watching videos of the earthquake in Mexico City and I ended up feeling upset, sad, anxious. Which is why I avoided ALL footage from Las Vegas. I went to bed feeling heavy and sad. That stuff totally has a mental effect in us. And we won’t know what being online so much has done to an entire generation until we’re all old. Just wait for that report :/

  20. Alexis says:

    I agree with him.

  21. Maren says:

    Like anything else, being online can be addictive and unhealthy. I get especially upset when I see young parents putting an ipad in front of theirbaby or young child during a meal out. How about you give them crayons? A fabric book? Ugh. I hate that.
    But how fortunate Clueless Harry is, as he is basically unemployed and for the few events he does do each year, he has a secretary, assistant, schedulers, etc. all online, making sure everything goes perfectly for Clueless Harry. When people like Harry talk about things like this, i just laugh. He has no clue how much time people who actually work for a living have to spend online just for work.

  22. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    I agree. Now only if I could dig up some will power.

  23. Amide says:

    Levity Alert – I always believed Princess Diana would have been a total internet addict. Add Jackie O to that equation.