Kate Winslet Shares Why She Thinks Kids Shouldn't Have Smartphones Or Be On Social Media
“Don’t let your children have a phone if they are too young to know what to do with it.”
Kate Winslet has shared her thoughts on why she won’t allow her three kids, and herself, to be on social media. In a recent interview with BBC Woman, Winslet opened up about her decision to keep her children from using social media and had some practical advice for other parents who might want to do the same with their kids. As she put it, parents can just say “no” when kids ask to use social media and get a smartphone.
Winslet is starring alongside her 22-year-old daughter Mia Threapleton in the BBC film I Am Ruth, which documents a teenage girl’s downward spiral caused by social media. Something Winslet herself is concerned is happening with far too many children. In an interview with Emma Barnett for BBC Woman, Winslet explained that, while she doesn’t “want to be accused of being a celebrity standing up on some soap box,” she does believe it’s “possible to just say ‘no’” when kids ask for a smartphone or want a social media account.
“My children don’t have social media and haven’t had social media,” Winslet explained. “There are many fake accounts out there for myself and also my children, weirdly, so I’m told. But it is possible to just say, ‘No you can’t have it.’”
The Mare of Easttown star, who is also mom to 19-year-old son Joe and 9-year-old son Bear, went on to share how she would explain her reason for saying no to her own children. “You can’t have it because I want you to enjoy your life. I want you to be a child. I want you to look up at the clouds and not photograph them and post them on your Instagram page and decide whether or not the clouds were worth looking at because someone else thought that they were rubbish.”
“Don’t let your children have a phone if they are too young to know what to do with it,” Winslet added.
Winslet pointed out how social media can affect a child’s self esteem, an issue that’s being increasingly addressed by health experts and even U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who called out the accepted streaming platform guideline of 13 years old as too young.
The concerned mom of three also noted that being locked into social media is making kids more depressed, “This world that you can burrow deeper and deeper into it, and it becomes darker and trickier and much, much harder for children to navigate. I think because people, young children, are having phones at a much earlier age, they're able to access things that emotionally they're just not equipped or sophisticated enough to know how to process.”
As Winslet mentioned, teenagers are becoming more depressed, according to data shared by Child Mind Institute, and that depression could certainly be linked to social media. Being so invested in an online world can leave them feeling more isolated and alone, and keeps them from doing activities that might make them feel better like group sports or other hobbies.
But beyond self esteem, Winslet pointed out that parents could be struggling with feeling “utterly powerless” as their children access an online world far beyond their scope. “I think because people, young children, are having phones at a much earlier age, they're able to access things that emotionally they're just not equipped or sophisticated enough to know how to process,” she told the BBC.
It isn’t easy to tell your kids they can’t have social media. The pressure to conform is enormous, of course. But perhaps Winslet has a point.