Prince Harry spoke about people who are “hurting” and unleashing their rage behind the screen. Taking part in the popular Teenager Therapy podcast with his wife Meghan, the Duke of Sussex said: “What I’ve seen so much over the years is people hiding behind usernames on the online space.
“There are things that are said digitally that nobody would say in person, of course.
“But I think there’s a lot of projection that happens as well, I think many, many people are hurting, a lot, and are freaking out because of the way the world is and because of, sometimes, the echo chamber that has been created for them by the online platform that they’ve chosen to be on.
“But also it comes down to control as well, you can control what you see, you can control what you do, so whether it’s notifications or whether it’s vibration ringtones, whatever it is, these things control you, rather than taking control.”
The Duke conceded it is easy to get absorbed in online hate.
Prince Harry erupted at online trolls during a podcast
Prince Harry and Meghan have taken part in a podcast
However, he added, people have the choice to turn off the noise – as he has learned to do.
He said: “I think it’s very easy to be sucked in and consumed by negativity, but we all have the choice to be able to cut that out of our lives.
“Hate following has become a thing, you don’t need to do that.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer senior royals
“Just as much as we worry about, be concerned, and take notice of what we put in our bellies as a diet, the same applies for our eyes and our mind, what we’re consuming is affecting us.
“For me, I made the choice not to read it, not to see it, and to remove myself from that, and to very much focus on the uplifting and the hopeful side.”
The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex took part in an episode of the podcast usually hosted by five teenagers based in California.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have urged people to speak out about their mental health
Meghan Markle said she has been the most trolled person in 2019
Recorded earlier this week at their home in Santa Barbara, the episode was entirely focused on mental health and working towards ending the stigma surrounding it.
This topic has been at the forefront of Harry’s mind since he himself opened up on his mental wellbeing, 20 years after the death of his mother Princess Diana.
With the Cambridges and Meghan, the Duke has worked on initiatives focused on making the conversation surrounding mental health mainstream.
In 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry collaborated on the launch of Heads Together.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018
Last year, the Cambridges and the Sussexes were the force behind the creation of Shout, a 24/7 helpline supporting people struggling with their mental health.
During the podcast, the Duchess of Sussex also focused on online negativity and how it can affect the outside world.
Comparing what people consume online to food, Meghan should free themselves from what is recommended or pushed towards them and pick their own favourite content online, something that is positive and make them feel good.
Similarly to Harry, the Duchess also touched upon online trolling.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now live in California
She said: “I can speak personally too, I am told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world – male or female.
“Now, eight months of that I wasn’t even visible, I was on maternity leave with the baby.
“But what was able to be manufactured and churned out it’s almost unsurvivable, it’s so big you can’t even think what that feels like.
“I don’t care if you are 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health it’s so damaging.
“So from my standpoint and for the work that we do is that from my personal experience and be able to talk to people and understand that even though our experience is unique to us and obviously can seem very different from what people can experience from day to day, it’s still a human experience and that’s universal.
“We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt, we all know what it feels like to be isolated, and I think that’s why the work you guys are doing here it’s so important.”