Many have voiced negative opinions about social media’s impact on young people, but just how bad are its consequences, really? Academy-award winning actress Kate Winslet thinks they’re problematic enough to warrant a ban among her family members. She and husband Ned Rocknroll instituted a “no social media” policy in their household including daughter Mia, 15, and sons Joe, 11, and Bear, 8 months.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Winslet claimed it leads to, among other problems, confidence issues manifest as eating disorders: “It has a huge impact on young women’s self-esteem because all they ever do is design themselves for people to like them,” she claimed. “And what comes along with that? Eating disorders. And that makes my blood boil. And is the reason we don’t have any social media in our house.”
Having spent years in the public eye, Winslet knows a thing or two about the pressures society places on women to fit unrealistic expectations regarding their appearance. Like so many female media figures, She’s faced criticism about her body often. Outspoken about her pride at not being a stick figure, Winslet admits to “drastic” measures she’s used to lose weight. Claiming she was teased for her weight as an adolescent and struggled with unhealthy weight-loss behaviors, including the use of laxatives to slim down.
While the actress’s familiarity with the fragility of self-esteem at least partially led her to forbid Facebook, Twitter, et al. from her home, she sees digital technology and in particular mobile devices as having a broader negative impact on family life than a rise in self-consciousness among adolescent girls. She voices concerns about young people of the digital age: “they go into a world and parents let them.. it takes every member of a family to be a member, and there are too many interruptions these days — and devices are a huge interruption.”
Winslet co-stars along with Michael Fassbender in the new Steve Jobs biopic – she wants to reduce her family’s use of the technologies pioneered by the visionary CEO. She offered this advice to parents: “Let your kids climb trees. Take the device out of their hand. Play Monopoly! You go to a cafe and grown-ups are at one end of the table and children the other, on devices, not looking up.” Though she’s acting as a spokesperson for parenting in the digital age, Winslet may become a figurehead for those concerned about the far-ranging impact of technology on themselves and their loved ones.