Prince Harry said the video game Fortnite “shouldn’t be allowed” as he spoke at a young person’s charity meeting in west London yesterday.
The Duke of Sussex warned of the toxic effects of the video game and social media, describing it as “more addictive than drugs and alcohol”, during a discussion of young people’s mental health at South Ealing’s YMCA.
The event was organised by Heads Together, a mental health initiative led by the prince and his wife Meghan Markle, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Speaking to representatives of charities including Stonewall and Young Minds, Harry said: “There’s too much negativity surrounding mental health and it must be so hard for young people to talk about it.
“Social media is more addictive than drugs and alcohol, and it’s more dangerous because it’s normalised and there are no restrictions to it.
“We are in quite a mind-altering time, but quite an exciting time, because everyone in this room has the opportunity to make a real difference.”
The Duke of Sussex went on to call for the ban of popular video game Fortnite, saying it was “irresponsible”.
“A game like Fortnite for instance may not be so good for children. Parents have got their hands up; they don’t know what to do about it,” he said.
“It’s like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down. 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.”
The day before his visit, the prince and pregnant wife Meghan broke Instagram records, when their newly launched account gained one million followers in under six hours.
A picture of Harry was posted to the account yesterday, along with a caption reading: “There continues to be huge progress in smashing the stigma that surrounds mental health, but let’s keep normalising the conversation.
“Let’s keep reminding each other that it’s okay to not be okay, and to listen to each other. After all, how we think determines how we act, how we feel, and how we treat ourselves and those around us.”
Harry’s remarks come after a study that shows 76 per cent of Londoners admit to suffering from “digital overload,” saying that too much time online affects their mental health, causing them to share fewer photos digitally and printing them instead.
The research, commissioned by photo-printing tech start-up Popsa, reveals 83 per cent of respondents in the capital believe society will soon see a digital backlash, as people realise the value of tangible, real-life experiences.
Popsa CEO and Founder, Liam Houghton, said: “We’ve noticed a significant increase in young people not only printing images from their social platforms but also now printing screenshots too in a bid to turn something that was meant to be transient, into a tactile object that exists forever in the real world.
Almost all participants in the survey said they gain more satisfaction from real life experience rather than online ones.