The royal dad gave a passionate speech at a circus-themed gala Monday night, celebrating the partnership between The Children’s Trust, an organization that helps children with brain injuries, and one of his key charities, Skillforce.
“The pressure on young people these days is considerable — almost certainly more than even for my generation not so long ago,” he said.
“Children are tested more than ever before and are being prepared to enter a highly competitive work market,” he continued. “On top of this, there is a sense of being ‘on call’ 24/7 through social media, and the subsequent strains this can have on relationships, home life and, ultimately, a child’s sense of their own self-worth. It can all take its toll.”
During a mental health event last month, Prince Harry spoke out about the same issue, saying, “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.”
“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,” he continued.
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The event Monday marked the new partnership between Skillforce, which works with schools to help transform kids’ lives, using the support and experience of ex-service members, and The Children’s Trust, which provides young people and their families with specialist rehabilitation, education and community services.
Comedian and host David Walliams and singer Elaine Paige entertained the 480 guests at the charity gala dinner. Among the guests were comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, actress Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and actress Anna Friel.
During his speech, William went on to discuss the importance of encouraging young children.
“Giving a child the tools of courage, discipline and resilience are a demonstration of great love and commitment to that child’s success,” he said.
“If you are not taught these skills at a young age, it is very, very difficult to learn them as an adult,” he continued. “It is the mark of a civilized and loving society that everyone is given the chance to do their best.
“Let’s be ambitious and give every child in this country the chance to fulfill their potential.”
William has been patron of Skillforce since 2009. The organization prepares children and young people in 220 elementary and high schools across England, Scotland and Wales for their next steps in education, work and life.
In March, he launched the charity’s award program, (by helping pitch a tent at a school in Wales) named for him, which aims to help young children between the ages of six and 14 to develop good character, confidence and resilience.