Brooke Shields Has A Simple Plan To Protect Her Daughters From Too Much Screen Time

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Brooke Shields and her daughters attend The Brooks Brothers Hosts Seventh Annual Holiday Celebration To Benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital on December 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers)

Brooke Shields shares how she handles screen time

Brooke Shields is the mother to two tween daughters: 12-year-old Rowan and 9-year-old Grier. She opened up to People this week about how she keeps their screen time in check.

“My daughter Rowan doesn’t have any of her passwords,” Shields tells People in this week’s issue. “She has to ask me to log her in. She’s so mad and embarrassed with her friends, but I’m tough like that.”

She isn’t only the gatekeeper to her kids’ social media accounts, she also keeps a strict eye on their phone and computer usage. “She’s not allowed to have her phone in her bedroom and there’s real specific computer times other than homework,” she says.

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to teenagers and social media. Shields’ girls aren’t teenagers yet, but they’re headed there, and there’s nothing wrong with a little control at that age. No matter how we feel about screen time, there is certainly a general consensus that it’s addictive and consuming. Add social media and all the challenges it presents for young people — and it’s something that’s very hard for a parent who didn’t grow up with these challenges to deal with.

As parents, we are all trying to navigate a world that just didn’t exist when we were kids. We had more freedom, but it just seemed more safe — didn’t it? We didn’t worry about our images being passed around for all to see and critique. If bullying happened, it happened in person — not on a global stage. Kids have it tough, and it’s our job as parents to help them navigate that.

Last year, CNN reported that teens spend nine hours a day consuming media: that includes watching television and videos, playing video games, surfing the web, and perusing social media. There is nothing wrong with trying to get a handle on that. Nine hours is presumably more time than they spend sleeping, interacting with peers and parents, and basically doing anything else all day. It’s no wonder that parents like Shields are concerned about tightening the reigns.

On the flip side, there are people like Danah Boyd, who make very well-researched points about adults backing off. “When adults jump to fear and isolationism as their solution to managing risk, they often undermine their credibility and erode teens’ trust in the information that adults offer,” she writes in her book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. “The importance of friends in social and moral development is well documented.But the fears that surround teens’ use of social media overlook this fundamental desire for social connection.”

We’re all just trying to do the best by our children: whether it’s by giving them more freedom to negotiate the space, or tightening the reigns. If anyone knows what the right answer is, can you let the rest of us know?

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