‘Giv­ing my kids smart­phones at 13 was mis­take,’ says Madonna

Irish Daily Mail - - News - Ir­ish Daily Mail Re­porter [email protected]­ly­mail.ie

FIRST Bill Gates’s wife Melinda ad­mit­ted she re­grets giv­ing her teenage chil­dren smart­phones... and now Madonna has said she, too, wishes she had her own chil­dren away from the de­vices for longer.

In an in­ter­view with Vogue mag­a­zine, the superstar singer said she gave her chil­dren Lour­des and Rocco their own phones when they were 13 – and that it ‘ended her re­la­tion­ship’ with them for a pe­riod.

She has now banned her adopted son David, who is 13, from hav­ing his own smart­phone. Asked about the is­sue of

‘It be­came a very big part of their lives’

giv­ing smart­phones to her younger chil­dren, she told the mag­a­zine: ‘I’m go­ing to stick that one out for as long as pos­si­ble, be­cause I made a mis­take when I gave my older [ chil­dren] phones when they were 13.’

‘It ended my re­la­tion­ship with them, re­ally. Not com­pletely, but it be­came a very, very big part of their lives.

‘They be­came too in­un­dated with im­agery and started to com­pare them­selves with other peo­ple, and that’s re­ally bad for self-growth.’

The star is one of the lat­est in a long line of high-pro­file fig­ures to ac­knowl­edge pub­licly the harm that smart­phones are do­ing to a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren – an is­sue which the Ir­ish Daily Mail’s ‘Pro­tect Our Kids On­line’ cam­paign has been high­light­ing for more than two years.

Thus far, the Mail’s cam­paign has helped lead to the planned es­tab­lish­ment of an On­line Safety Com­mis­sioner, which was an­nounced by Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Richard Bru­ton last month, and to Ire­land keep­ing the digital age of con­sent at 16, de­spite pow­er­ful tech in­dus­try-backed ef­forts to have the age re­duced to just 13.

In 2017, Melinda Gates wrote in The Wash­ing­ton Post that she wished she hadn’t al­lowed her chil­dren to have a smart­phone when they were 13.

‘As a mother who wants to make sure her chil­dren are safe and happy, I worry,’ she wrote. ‘And I think back to how I might have done things dif­fer­ently... I prob­a­bly would have waited longer be­fore putting a com­puter in my chil­dren’s pockets. Phones and apps aren’t good or bad by them­selves, but for ado­les­cents who don’t yet have the emo­tional tools to nav­i­gate life’s com­pli­ca­tions and con­fu­sions, they can ex­ac­er­bate the dif­fi­cul­ties of grow­ing up.’

Last week, the di­rec­tor of the Ir­ish Child and Fam­ily In­sti­tute , Kieran Mc­Grath, gave a stark warn­ing that s mart­phones have the po­ten­tial to be ‘ex­tremely dan­ger­ous ob­jects’.

In a newly pub­lished book­let on what he sees as an ex­plo­sion in child sex­u­al­i­sa­tion, f ormer so­cial worker Mr Mc­Grath said: ‘Par­ents need to ask them­selves if their child re­ally needs to have pos­ses­sion of some­thing potentiall­y dan­ger­ous. If they were car­ry­ing around a loaded gun or knife, what kinds of conversati­ons would par­ents have with them about it?’

Par­ent: Madonna in 2008 with Lour­des

Fam­ily: Madonna with, back, Rocco, David and Mercy, and, front, Lour­des, Stella and Es­ther

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.