Penélope Cruz Feels Social Media Is Like 'Some Kind of Experiment' On Kids

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Penélope Cruz opened up about why she’s shielding her children from social media until they’re at least 16

As parents of kids of all ages grapple with the proven impact of social media on the mental health of kids, teens, and young adults alike, it’s understandable why some parents choose to prevent their kids from using it altogether. Penélope Cruz explained why she and her husband and Javier Bardem don’t let their kids, 10-year-old son Leo and 8-year-old daughter Lena, use smartphones or use popular social media apps, and why she feels the lack of protection for kids online feels like an “experiment” on developing brains.

Cruz shared her thoughts during the December 19 episode of CBS Sunday Morning, revealing that she also isn’t a fan of using social media herself, despite being in the public eye for nearly three decades. “I have a strange relationship with social media where I use very little of it in a very careful way,” she explained. “There is something that is not making sense, and it is especially affecting younger generations. I feel really bad for the ones that are teenagers now.”

“It’s almost like if the world was doing some kind of experiment on them,” she continued. “‘Oh, let’s see what happens if you expose a 12-year-old to that much technology.’ The lack of protection that it is for a 12-year-old to be involved in social media, any form of social media, there’s no protection for them, for their brains that are still developing, and how that affects the way they see themselves, everything, like, related to bullying. So many things that are not the childhood that we had.”

The actress is also very strict with the media her kids consume in general. “I’m very tough with technology, for example, with my kids,” she said. “It’s like, yeah, we’re going to watch movies sometimes or some cartoons. How can I not let them watch movies? That has been, like, some incredible moments of happiness since I was a little girl. But not phones until they are much older and no social media until at least 16. I really see that that is, like, protecting mental health, but I seem to be part of a minority. I don’t know.”

Plenty of parents will undoubtedly relate to Cruz’s feelings, particularly in the current social media landscape and the fact that nothing seems to be changing for the better on a policy level or among individual apps. Cruz has also been open about why she’ll never share photos of her children online — in 2017, she told The Telegraph, “You will never see a picture of my kids on Instagram. I will never do that. I feel like I am responsible to protect that privacy.”