King Charles gave a historic speech to the City of London this week, and at times it seemed to echoes his son Prince Harry’s cautions about the perils of social media.
Speaking at Mansion House, the King urged the public to rise above “rancour and acrimony” during online debates. He was there for a glittering white-tie dinner with Queen Camilla to honor the work of City of London civic institutions and Livery Companies.
“Deep down inside us is the instinct to cooperate wherever and whenever possible,” he stated.
“Even in the most fractious times – when disagreements are polished, paraded and asserted – there is in our land a kind of muscle memory that it does not have to be like this; that the temptation to turn ourselves into a shouting or recriminatory society must be resisted … especially in the digital sphere, where civilised debate too often gives way to rancour and acrimony.”
The monarch went on to say: “These instincts come together in perhaps the deepest of all our reservoirs: the one that irrigates our crucial sense of responsibility, both individual and collective, that enables us to fulfil our duties as good citizens who understand, without having to write down or formalise them, the decencies on which our institutions and our constitution depend, as well as our relationships.”
In relation to writing things down, Charles made light of himself by bringing up his well-known fountain pen mishap that was captured on camera a few days into his reign in September 2022.
It happens just one week after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex pleaded with social media firms to limit the negative content that kids view online in order to safeguard their mental health.
On October 10, Harry and Meghan made an appearance at a mental health awareness festival in New York organized by the nonprofit Project Healthy Minds.
The father of two, Harr, urged tech executives to “stop sending children content you wouldn’t want your own children to see” during his speech on the panel organized by the couple’s Archewell Foundation.
Meghan stated that she and her spouse have discussed the problem with tech executives and are concentrating on what they can do in the background to make social media use “safer, better, and more positive”.
“People are getting hurt, and people are dying, especially children,” she continued.
Not all of the families were present when we first met them a year ago. It was impossible not to cry at the time, as I’m sure many of you have done as you hear these stories now.
“Although our children are still very young—between two and a half and four years old—social media is here to stay.
“I think by design, there is an entry point that is supposed to be positive, in creating community and something has devolved, and there is no way to hear that and not try to help these families have their stories be heard.”
In a 2020 opinion piece for Fast Company, Harry, who has long advocated for social media platform reform, stated: “It shouldn’t be seen as a coincidence that the rise of social media has matched a rise in division amongst us globally.”
“Social media’s own algorithms and recommendation tools can drive people down paths towards radicalism and extremism that they might not have taken otherwise.”