Ah, Prince Harry. Providing yet another teachable moment for partygoing teens and 20-somethings everywhere.
In case you have not seen this news yet, the royal goods are making their way around the Internet today after a partygoer leaked photos from a recent, um, gathering in the Prince of Wales’s VIP hotel suite in Las Vegas. The shots show a naked Prince Harry cavorting with an equally disrobed young woman. Celebrity news reports say that the prince’s gang met a group of women at the casino bar and invited them all up for a game of strip pool.
Lesson 1: Strip billiards with strangers, not a great idea.
Lesson 2: Strip billiards with strangers with cameras or smart phones, even worse idea.
This is hardly the first time that Harry has been caught in the public eye doing something the rest of us might find embarrassing. (Remember that Nazi Halloween costume?) It’s also far from the first time a celebrity has suffered at the hands of uncontrolled party photos. (Think Miley Cyrus and Michael Phelps with their respective bongs.)
But every time these celebrity flaps happen, it should make all the rest of us remember that these days, with Facebook and cell phone cameras and texting, what happens in Vegas is just not going to stay there.
Which can be both a helpful and hurtful awareness for kids.
On the positive side, a recognition of the speed by which incriminating photos travel can help teens make smarter decisions about behaviors like “sexting,” the sending of sexual images via text message. While a recent study published in the journal “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine” found that nearly 30 percent of high school students have sent sexual messages, that number is well below the 50 percent who report having received a request for a nude photo.
But the constant sense of being in the public eye can also do a number on body image and sense of self. Last year, a study found that teens who use Facebook regularly report more depression than those who don’t; other studies have found that Facebook devotees reveal more narcissistic characteristics than others. Some child development experts worry about the impact on teens – particularly girls – who feel that they need to be “camera ready” at every event, knowing that someone might post their photo online.
Prince Harry, however, seems not to worry much about being “camera ready.” Or perhaps is just satisfied with a different sort of profile than you might want for your kid.
Indeed, most news reports about the Vegas episode say that Brits have reacted with a national shrug. This is their party prince, after all. It’s what he does.
The palace has had no comment.
Lesson 3: If you’re going to have naked pictures of you spread all over the place, you might as well be a beloved royal.