TODAY -- Pictured: Jennifer Garner on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via...
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Jennifer Garner Asks Her Kids To Prove Social Media Is “Good For Teenagers”

“Find scientific evidence that matches what I have that says that it’s not good for teenagers, then we’ll chat.”

by Kaitlin Kimont

Jennifer Garner is known on Instagram for her “Pretend Cooking Show,” often channeling advice she’s learned from her friend Ina Garten. (The Barefoot Contessa host, however, might not take credit for that one time Garner nearly set her kitchen on fire.) Her posts are always a delight, but that doesn’t mean her kids are also watching them during a daily Instagram scroll. That’s because the 30 Going on 30 star has been adamant about keeping her three children off social media until they’re older and she recently shared how she handles this conversation with them.

Earlier this week, Garner, who stars as Hannah in the upcoming Apple TV+ series The Last Thing He Told Me, spoke with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on TODAY about how she responds to her kids — Violet, 17, Seraphina, 13, and Samuel, 11, all of whom she shares with her ex-husband Ben Affleck — when they ask if they can have an account.

“How do you do it without them hating you?” Kotb asked.

“I just said to my kids, ‘Show me the articles that prove that social media is good for teenagers, and then we’ll have the conversation,’” Garner responded. “‘Find scientific evidence that matches what I have that says that it’s not good for teenagers, then we’ll chat.’”

Jennifer Garner with her children — daughters Violet and Seraphina, and son Samuel — in 2018. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The Mayo Clinic notes that while social media can provide teens with support, social networks, and an outlet for self-expression, a bevy of research has also shown that it can negatively affect kids, including higher levels of anxiety and depression and worse sleep quality. The American Psychological Association (APA) also notes that teens can become dependent on social media and crave “likes,” rather than seek healthy relationships offline. Studies have also shown that social media use perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards and may lead to disordered eating.

With an estimated 4.89 billion people on social media worldwide, apps like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are undoubtedly hard to avoid. Fortunately for Garner, her oldest daughter, Violet, who she recently brought as her date to a White House state dinner, isn’t fighting her on the subject and actually appreciates the efforts Garner has made to keep her off social media.

“My eldest is grateful,” Garner told TODAY. “It’s a long haul. I have a couple more to go, so just knock on wood. We’ll see if I really hang in there.”