Social media comes with its highs and lows. While it can be a great place to connect with likeminded people and discover new things, it has the potential to be damaging to mental health — especially for children and teenagers who are still developing.
That’s why many parents are now setting strict boundaries when it comes to phones and social media. For many famous parents, it’s especially important to keep their children offline in order to avoid cyberbullying and comments from the public that can be hurtful. While their children may not appreciate the rules set by their parents, it’s all in the hopes of keeping them safe while they’re growing up.
Here’s what these stars had to say about social media…
1. Matthew McConaughey & Camila Alves
Matthew McConaughey has three children and growing up, he hasn’t allowed them to be on social media. Now that his son Levi is 15, Matthew says he’s allowing him to take “baby steps” into the world of social media but has been having conversations about what he can and should post.
“Let’s talk about what it is. Let’s talk about the up-falls. Let’s talk about the downfalls. Let’s talk about the assets. Let’s talk about the traps. Let’s talk about what you wanna tell,” he said of one discussion with his son. “What’s your story? Because what happens a lot of times with young people and social media is they wake up in the morning and the first thing on their mind is, ‘What will be a good post?’ Instead of, ‘What do I want to do today?'”
He continued, “And we’re going through, we’re measuring, we’re discussing things. We had him look at a lot of other people that he looked up to, their post(s). We talked, ‘Why do you like those?’ And then you saw certain people that had maybe more hits, and you go, ‘But why did they?’ Were they relevant for reasons that actually spoke to being more of themselves, rather than acting like somebody else? The discussion is ongoing.”
2. Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner has banned her three children from social media as they grow up. She says that things will only change if they can find scientific evidence that proves social media is beneficial to teenagers.
“I just said to my kids, ‘Show me the articles that prove that social media is good for teenagers, and then we’ll have the conversation. Find scientific evidence that matches what I have that says that it’s not good for teenagers, then we’ll chat,'” Jennifer said on the Today show. “My eldest is grateful. It’s a long haul. I have a couple more to go, so just knock on wood. We’ll see if I really hang in there.”
3. Sarah Michelle Gellar & Freddie Prinze Jr.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. have long been vocal about their opposition to their kids being on social media. To help her two children understand, Sarah says she made the comparison to getting a tattoo as a kid. A Paw Patrol tattoo may sound great at age 5, but as you get older, it’s not going to represent you as a person anymore.
“Our rules are probably stricter than most. Our kids don’t have social media. They’re allowed to look sometimes when it’s our phones. Sometimes, our kids will be like, ‘You guys are the strictest household!’ But I say, ‘Yes, but everyone still wants to come here!'” she told Yahoo Life’s So Mini Ways.
She continued, “I believe kids need to know what their limitations are, and they actually thrive in that environment. We’re not mean, we’re not unnecessarily strict, but we have rules. And the same way I abide by my code of rules, I expect the same from our children.”
4. Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban share two daughters and as they’ve grown up, they have kept their kids off social media. As of 2019, Nicole says she doesn’t allow her children to have phones or Instagram — and knows her policies may make her “unpopular.”
“They don’t have a phone and I don’t allow them to have an Instagram. I try to keep some kind of boundaries,” she told Vanity Fair.
5. Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem
Penélope Cruz has not only banned her two children from social media, but they’re not allowed to use phones either. Back in 2019, Penélope explained that she was doing her best to protect her children’s mental health by keeping them offline, adding that there is “no protection” for kids on social media.
“I’m very tough with technology, for example, with my kids…[No phones] until they are much older. And no social media until at least 16. I really see that that is protecting mental health, but I seem to be part of a minority,” she said on CBS Sunday Morning.
6. Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum has always tried to limit her children’s screen time and when her daughter Leni was younger, she had to get her mother’s approval for every post she made on her private Instagram.
“My daughter has social media, but only for her friends,” Heidi told People in 2018. “She has to show me the photos before she posts them. They’re all getting sexier and sexier, and I feel like there’s a time and place and a certain age group when you can do that for yourself, so sometimes she shows me photos and I’m like, ‘Eh, maybe not that one, show me other photos.’ Even though it’s just her friends, you never know who they could send it to.”
7. Pink & Carey Hart
Pink doesn’t allow her son and daughter to be on social media — and they actually don’t even have cell phones. In 2022, Pink shared that her daughter was starting to get frustrated that she couldn’t have a phone like her friends, but the musician stayed firm in her belief.
“There’s a light side and a shadow side to technology in general for adults,” she told the Today show. “For kids, I’m not there yet. I have a 10-year-old who does not have a phone, although she pointed out to me yesterday, ‘You know most of the kids in my class, fifth grade, have a phone.’ That doesn’t move my needle. I don’t care.”
8. Sofia Coppola & Thomas Mars
Director Sofia Coppola and musician Thomas Mars’ daughter Romy made headlines when she shared a video of herself on TikTok in 2023. Not only was she breaking her parent’s strict social media rules but she also told a wild story about getting grounded when she tried to charter a helicopter.
“I thought I would do this since I’m already grounded because my parents’ biggest rule is like, I’m not allowed to have any public social media accounts. Here’s why,” Romy said, before holding up a Grammy Award. “They don’t want me to be a nepotism kid, but TikTok is not gonna make me famous, so it doesn’t really matter.”
The video was later deleted and Sofia called Romy’s TikTok post the “best way for her to be rebellious” and noted that she actually got “lots of compliments” on Romy’s filmmaking.
9. Dax Shepard & Kristen Bell
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have always kept the lives of their two daughters very private. In addition to keeping them out of the spotlight, Dax says their kids are not allowed to have phones or social media — and he has no plans to change that anytime soon.
“We don’t have a phone problem ’cause they’re not in the mix. And iPods aren’t, iPads aren’t in the mix, and video games. So there’s three things in my house that are not happening — those things. And they complain about it all the time: ‘So-and-so’s got it.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, but you got a swimming pool and you got a dirt bike,'” Dax said on The Endless Honeymoon podcast.
10. Julia Roberts
After Julia Roberts starred in “Ben Is Back,” where she played the mother of a drug-addicted teenager, she says she became a stricter parent. In addition to monitoring what her three kids watch online, Julia is also keeping them off social media.
“It’s interesting trying to raise kids in this day because it’s all so new — the pressures, the resources, having the world in your hand like that…I try to keep them off social media, because I don’t really understand what they need that for right now,” she told The Sun.