Prince William Surprised Teens At A School, Then Dispensed Invaluable Life Advice

“We’re not very good at talking about our emotions and how we feel...”

Prince William didn't just surprise students at London's Ark Burlington Danes Academy on Feb. 8 — he also advised them on maintaining their mental health in this Internet age. Talking with younger compatriots, the 35-year-old touched on matters of cyberbullying, technology addiction, and emotional support. 

And after talking to an assembly of 250 students about cyberbullying, he met with some of the teens in smaller groups. In one conversation, for example, he told 15-year-olds Samara Hackett-Valton and Sophie Crowder to safeguard their self-image against unrealistic depictions of beauty.

"I worry for you girls," he told them, per TODAY. "The touched-up pictures are not real. Don't try to recreate them or think that's what you've got to aim for. There's a lot of fakeness online, so don't worry about that."

William also told students these Internet-age problems just compound the stress they already face as they contend with schoolwork and their social lives. "That's a lot," he said. "You must be aware of that, it's a lot of pressure. There's so many things going on. You're going to be bamboozled."

With all that stress, the Duke of Cambridge recommended unplugging from time to time, per PEOPLE. "Don't spend all day online," he said. "Seriously, don't. For your mental health, get outside, come away from the screen. By all means, be on a screen but don't be on it all day because it will only bring you into another world. "It's important that you balance the time."

And he suggested that these young Brits open up about their feelings. "We're not very good at talking about our emotions and how we feel," he said. "We've really got to work hard on being able to talk to friends, family, and trusted people about how we feel."

Organized by YouTube star Dan Howell, the visit is part of the royals' Heads Together campaign for mental health — which William created with his wife, Kate Middleton, and his brother, Prince Harry — and also included British rapper Professor Green, an ardent supporter of the campaign.

As much as the students were wowed by these high-profile visitors, The Telegraph reports they audibly groaned when William dropped a "dad joke"-worthy pun while talking about his charity's advisors. "We asked them to get their 'heads together,' " he said. "See what I did there?"


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