E.T. Don't Phone Home

Drew Barrymore Explains Her Hard & Fast Stance On Kid Cell Phones

“Nobody wants their kids to be angry with them. It’s not a great feeling. But I know that this is what’s best for them.”

Drew Barrymore shares that she struggles with her kids' anger over her refusal to get them cell phon...
The Drew Barrymore Show / TikTok

If you’re parenting a tween, you’ve likely already considered this increasingly unavoidable topic: When, if ever, should your child have a cell phone? Drew Barrymore admitted to her studio audience that she’s grappling with this decision, and with the emotions of daughters who have their own strong opinions on the matter.

In a TikTok posted by The Drew Barrymore Show, Drew admits “I am struggling.” Her daughters, Olive 11, and Frankie, 10, want cell phones.

Drew Barrymore speaks to The Drew Barrymore Show audience about her struggle to deal with the anger her tween girls feel toward her and her refusal to get them phones.

“A lot of parents are giving their kids phones at very young ages, and it’s just access to everything.” Barrymore continues, “It’s really tough. I’m like very overwhelmed.”

She takes a firm stance, though. “I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to give in. I haven’t let my kids have phones yet,” as the audience breaks into supportive applause.

While she is confident in her choice, she openly reflects on the internal contradiction that can surface for many parents as our babies grow into increasingly independent people.

“It’s amazing to have wanted so badly for my kids to love me and to love their environment and feel safe...None of us want our children to resent us. And we don’t want to be their enemy. It’s such a hard choice to say, ‘I don’t care if you hate me for this. I don’t care if you’re mad at me for this. I know that I am doing the right thing by you and I accept your anger.’”

In a tone infused with kindness, Drew empathizes, “Nobody wants their kids to be angry with them. It’s not a great feeling.”

Unwavering, she reiterates, “But I know that this is what’s best for them and I’ve gotta stick with it.”

The audience encourages her hard line with validating applause. Still, Barrymore clarifies how hard it is for her. “I have to find the courage every day not to give in.”

“If anyone out there in your life is going through that I am in complete solidarity with you.”

The clip wraps up with diplomacy, delivered convincingly by the actress with a gift for coming across as your own longtime bestie.

“And by the way, if you’ve given your kids phones and you’re doing the hands up, you’re not wrong. There is no right and wrong. It’s just a hard thing to navigate.”

The comments offer various perspectives. Many applaud Barrymore’s decision and share their own choices about when (if ever) to allow phones, often distinguishing between smart phones and communication devices with limited features. With equal conviction, other caregivers defended their decision to allow phones, citing convenience, peace of mind, and efficacy of parental controls.

Many people noted that you can’t make your kids happy all of the time, especially if you’re standing by your rules and convictions.

“If your child is never mad at you, you aren't doing your job ✌️,” one parent shared.

A few noted that Barrymore is setting rules and boundaries in a way that she never got when she was growing up.

“Not drew being the parent she always needed 😭,” one person wrote.

While this topic always comes with strong opinions, in this case, the discussion went down with more kindness than judgment. By leaning into empathy over defensiveness, Barrymore opened the door for respectful discourse, and made a lot of parents feel less alone as we strive to do what’s best for our families.