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Duchess Meghan cautions against social media users becoming addicts

bigtunaonline/iStock
bigtunaonline/iStock

By KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Duchess Meghan, who was active on social media before marrying Prince Harry, said she has been offline for “a very long time” and worries about the addictive nature of social media.

“For my own self-preservation, I have not been on social media for a very long time,” the Duchess of Sussex said Tuesday in a virtual chat with Fortune magazine for its “Most Powerful Next Gen Summit. “I had a personal account years ago, which I closed down and then we had one through the institution and our office that was in the U.K. that wasn’t managed by us — that was a whole team — and so I think that comes with the territory for the job you have.”

“I’ve made a personal choice to not have any account, so I don’t know what’s out there, and in many ways that’s helpful for me,” added Meghan, who, with Harry, closed their popular Sussex Royal Instagram account when they stepped down from their senior roles with Britain’s royal family earlier this year and could no longer use the Sussex Royal name.

Meghan, 39, also described social media as an “addiction,” noting the similarities to a drug addiction.

“I have a lot of concerns for people that have become obsessed with it, and it is so much a part of our daily culture for so many people that it’s an addiction like many others,” she said. “There are very few things in this world where you call the person who is engaging with it a user.”

“But if you look at social media and what it’s doing in the same capacity, as it does in creating addiction. What is the comp there? People who are addicted to drugs are called users and people who are on social media are called users,” Meghan added. “There is something algorithmically that is in there that is creating this obsession that I think is very unhealthy for a lot of people.”

In her remarks, which were shared on Fortune magazine’s social media accounts, Meghan advised people to be “really conscious and responsible” on social media.

“Just be conscious of what you’re doing and understand that it is not limited to that one moment, that you are creating an echo chamber for yourself, so the more that you engage with things that are negative, not just for other people that you might not know, but what it’s doing to you as a human being will really have lasting effects, and that there is an alternative to engaging in that kind of stuff,” she said. “I would say to just be really conscious and responsible.”

Meghan also spoke directly to young women, saying, “I don’t think people have even started to scratch the surface on what this is doing to us, and I wish more for especially the younger generation of women, you have the power to turn this around.”

Meghan spoke to Fortune virtually from the Santa Barbara, California, home that she, Harry and their 1-year-old son Archie recently moved into.

The women’s rights activist and former actress described how being a mother has changed her leadership style.

“Duck! Rabbit!” with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, and Harry, The Duke of Sussex (behind the camera!) read to their son Archie for his 1st birthday ❤️💛💙 Happy Birthday Archie! ❤️💛💙

Watch the full story & donate to our #Coronavirus appeal here 👉 https://t.co/vWvRk8ITFm pic.twitter.com/5wrGXfXTd7

— Save the Children UK (@savechildrenuk) May 6, 2020

“It’s interesting because my gut is that it makes you more courageous, it makes you so concerned for the world they’re going to inherit,” she said. “So the things you’re able to tolerate on your own are not the same that you are going to put your child in a position of vulnerability for. You go every single day –how can I make this world better for Archie? That is a shared belief for my husband and I.

“At the same time, I am cautious of putting my family at risk by certain things. I try to be very clear in what I say and not get controversial and instead talk about things that seem very straight forward, like exercising your right to vote,” Meghan said. “I think that’s as simple as it comes and as necessary as it comes and to that point as a parent, I can enjoy all the fun and silliness and games with my son, but I wouldn’t be able to feel proud of myself as a mom if I didn’t know that I wasn’t doing my part to make it a better place for him.”

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