If you’ve been tuned into social media today, you’ve likely heard about the photos that have surfaced of Prince Harry in Las Vegas. If you haven’t, I’m not recommending that you look at news reports featuring the 27 year old prince — the third person in line to the British throne — playing a game of “strip pool” in a Las Vegas luxury hotel suite. You don’t have to look too carefully to find blurry shots of the prince making their way around cyberspace, but seeing the photos will not edify you in any way about what we should take away from this unfortunate incident.
As someone who spends a good deal (indeed, perhaps too much) time on the Internet working in the New Evangelization’s craziest mission field, I try to remain “tuned in” to what we can learn spiritually and practically from stories such as this one. I’m also not ashamed to tell you that I keep the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel posted in my workspace, and that I pray it multiple times per day as I work. On some days, the “wickedness and snares of the devil” seem to be surrounding us.
When a story such as this one hits the wires, I tend to look at it from two perspectives: first, from that of a blogger, but second — and more importantly, from that of a mom. In the case of Prince Harry, it’s that motherly “red alert” that prompted me to have immediate and extended conversations with both of my sons early this morning. Both of them — avoiding their instinctive reflex to roll their eyes at me — heard a retelling of my frequent advice that their behavior needs to be above reproach at all times. Let me be the first to say that I’m very happy iPhones weren’t around during my “glory days” at Notre Dame. I’m sure that if that had been the case, my friends would have fun sharing a few photos of me in moments of suboptimal decision making…
My boys — and your children — are growing up in a different world. One where lives can be changed in an instant with the snap of a smartphone picture posted (even privately) on Facebook or a twenty second Youtube video gone viral. Our reminder to our kids to make good choices needs to be a constant drumbeat from a very young age. Failure to do so could damage their reputations, but more importantly their souls, irreversibly.
I won’t be looking again at those pictures of Prince Harry. But I will be praying for him today — I think he needs that now more than ever. In addition, I won’t let up on sharing this and other stories with my sons.
Have you discussed the Prince Harry photos or other “social media faux pas” in your home? How do we effectively educate our families on the fact that EVERYTHING we do could potentially surface in social media or photos? Does it change the way you lead your life? Tell me about it!