Rebecca Romijn on not giving daughters phones: ‘It’s not a fight, the answer is no’

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Top o’ the world, Ma

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Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell were on Access Live this week. I love them together and enjoy their interviews. I’m also into Access Live and especially like Kit Hoover, she’s genuinely interested and excited to talk to guests. Jerry had a talkshow on Bravo, Play By Play, where he talked about the Real Housewives with other dudes. From what I can find it only aired for three episodes last fall. He’s been guest hosting for Wendy Williams as she recovers from health problems.

Jerry and Rebecca attended Andy Cohen’s baby shower, which was a crazy mix of day drunk Real Housewives, and they showed footage from that and of women dancing on tables. Lisa Rinna was amazing in a silky jumpsuit. She has moves. They also talked about their daughters, 10-year-old twins Dolly and Charlie. Kat asked about the fact that they don’t let them have cell phones and Rebecca was very clear on that point.

What do they think of mom and dad?
Rebecca:I think they think we’re pretty funny. I think they’re pretty funny. They have a pretty sophisticated sense of humor.

They’re not allowed to have cell phones, right? Is that the big fight right now?
Rebecca: It’s not really a fight because the answer is no. That’s where it ends. But they keep trying because a lot of their friends have cell phones. We heard from a few people that when child gets a cell phone their grades go down. Kelly Ripa told us their grades go down.

On if they have dinner parties with Jennifer Aniston as was reported
Jerry: [The story] was so false it was crazy
Rebecca: It was based on absolutely nothing. You can’t believe anything you read. She’s always been kind when we’ve passed her at things and said hello.
Jerry: I would love to go [to her dinner parties].

[From Access Live]

I have heard this from other parents, that their kid’s grades went down when they got cell phones. It wasn’t as much an issue for my son as he’s had technology since he was younger, but my friend swears her daughter started doing poorly in school right after she got an iPhone.

Rebecca and Jerry are hosting a show on Hallmark called the American Rescue Dog Show. It’s a dog show for rescue dogs with cute categories like “best in snoring,” “best in senior” and “best in special needs,” “best in smiling,” etc. I am going to tape this and tell my mom about it!

Rebecca said she had two “foster fails,” which means that they meant to foster two dogs before they got their forever homes but ended up falling in love with them and adopting them. That’s not a fail!

Here’s the interview:

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Happy Holidays from the rescue squad #adoptdontshop

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Photos credit: WENN and via Instagram

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56 Responses to “Rebecca Romijn on not giving daughters phones: ‘It’s not a fight, the answer is no’”

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  1. Franklymydear... says:

    Good on them! There are a surprising number of parents who can’t say no to their kids. As a teacher I have several parents a year who ask me to keep their kid’s device at school because they can’t control how often the kid plays on it. It’s pretty telling. Sad when kids run the household!

    • Alissa says:

      they can, they just never want to be the bad guy! it’s amazing how many parents will do back bends so that their kids don’t think they’re being mean.

    • BchyYogi says:

      Let’s all admit it’s the PARENTS start the problem WE (I’m inc myself) use devices to babysit or distract or kids so WE can have OUR time. When I went back to grad school, I had a lot of online work & as a single mom, I thought it was “cute” for us to go to a coffee shop together, get a treat & do “online work”, he’d play games or cruise youTube/ So he got addicted, but thankfully not until age 10 when he’d already developed other skills. I now use the phone as a “reward” for good behavior now, but fully accept responsibility. We struggle as a family, but I see worse!

      • Raina says:

        I recognize I’m the biggest asshole on the planet for how many times I gave in to my kid. I honestly needed a break and he talks a LOT. He’s 15 now. Plus, he’s an only kid on my side so I indulged to the point of where I kind of reap what I sow now. I get it: I screwed up early on.
        He’s still a good kid in other ways but his xbox is about to be thrown at the wall soon. I actually get hives when mortal combat sound comes on.
        No phones yet, however. One mental dysfunction at a time.

        I love this hilarious couple. They are refreshing and seemingly real. Heard a great thing about her once where she pulled over and helped a woman with a broken down car by giving her a lift. It’s those little things when no one is watching that I give credence to. We should all do it if we can.

    • M.A.F. says:

      I always have to control my face during teacher/parent conferences when the parent flat says they don’t know how to control their kid’s technology use. Stop buying it for them, change the WiFi password, and take the items out of their room. It’s really not that difficult.

      • wildflower says:

        I don’t get that, either. My kids were allowed cellphones in middle school because they had a little more freedom and it was easier to check in when they were away from home, but… the phones had to be turned in before they went to bed. They are not allowed phones in their rooms at night and computers are used in a common area. I don’t have a problem with them texting all night like some of my friends have, because it can’t happen if the phone isn’t in your possession. I also refused to have movies in the car when we took road trips. This is novel, but we talked and played games just like I did when I was a kid, instead of tuning each other out.

  2. Alissa says:

    my stepson is soon-to-be 10, we’ve kind of decided that he doesn’t need an actual cell phone until he’s about 12. He just got tablets last year for Christmas, not this Christmas but the one before, and his mom just got him a messenger app on it. I can tell you just by having the ability to talk to his friends, he’s become totally obsessed, so I can understand that having a cell phone would cause the grades to go down. Right now he’s pretty limited on how often he can use it but we’ll see.

  3. Swack says:

    My grandchildren get them when they get into middle school. One reason is they are allowed to take pictures of the board that has their homework on. But you can control the phones. Allow the child to have the phone only during certain times and allow only certain apps on the phone. You can also watch their activity. To each their own. I think there is little difference in allowing other electronics to be used and a phone and grades. You have to keep on top of both grades and electronics.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. My kids are now in their late teens and they got phones in middle school. We kept limits on them and their grades didn’t suffer. I finally gave up the fight about them keeping the phones downstairs overnight and I do know their sleep suffered a little bit. I hate how connected everyone is to their devices now, it’s awful. But so far my kids are still doing ok in school.

      I do think my 18 year old’s attention has been diminished as a result of screens and that worries me a lot. He used to read books all the time for fun, for example, and now he has no interest. It’s a very sore subject.

      • BchyYogi says:

        @Esmom. Ugh! I’m so sorry. To see an 18yo w NO interests…I’d be heartbroken. My kiddo got his in middle school too, before that, zero screen time as we were a waldorf family. Waldorf isn’t our cup of tea anymore, but my son DOES have a major athletic interests & is a math whiz. The irony isn’t lost as I myself get a “social hit” by responding to a stranger on CB!!

      • Esmom says:

        BchyYogi, Thanks for your response. Actually I meant that he no longer has an interest in reading for fun. Thankfully he’s still busy with other pursuits, athletic teams and a band and music and other hobbies. It just bums me out that he doesn’t read because I know how much he used to love it. I hope he’ll get back to it one day but I also feel like his attention span is sort of shot thanks to technology. I keep telling him he needs to be ready for all the reading he’ll have to do next year in college.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        @Esmom
        Tell him to put AO3.org or fanfiction.net on his phone. I really only like buying physical reference books (like textbooks or biographies, etc), but I am 24 and pretty much do all of my reading on my phone. My mom actually gets pissed off because she says I’m on it all the time……..but 90% of the time, I am reading.

      • Anne Call says:

        Don’t despair. Both my son’s liked to read growing up (I’m the child of two librarians so it’s in the genes) but faltered in high school and college especially the super jocky basketball player one. They now are 34 and 29 and read constantly and love books. They do both read electronically which is my preference also these days. I’m also an audible.com fanatic and that’s a great option if you do a lot of driving (or walking the dog in my case).

    • M.A.F. says:

      “My grandchildren get them when they get into middle school. One reason is they are allowed to take pictures of the board that has their homework on”

      They can’t get an agenda calendar and write it down? They don’t need a tablet/phone to do that. I tell students all the time to get an agenda calendar and to stop putting reminders on their phones because all they do is ignore it.

  4. Kiki says:

    Let me say first off. Jerry and Rebecca’s girls are very beautiful. Now in to the topic, I wholeheartedly agree with Rebecca about giving her children phones. I have a child or children for that matter, they will never have any device to take to no school. No mean no, no ifs, and or buts.

  5. RoyalBlue says:

    My kids are 10 and 12 and have no phones as yet. We are thinking 14 is a reasonable age to have one, but we will see. Right now it is a hard no for me.

    • BchyYogi says:

      Be that parent, plz hold out as long as you can! Phone use stunts emotional growth- I held out until age 10, then it was highly regulated. If i had to do it over again, I’d live closer to friends so he could play instead of staring at a screen :( I grew up in a scrappy trailer park- but those adventures w kids-playing outside- those were journeys i’ll never forget!

  6. Snowflake says:

    I’m ok w kids having phones. Think about it, if there’s an emergency, they can call their parents or 911. Just has to be monitored like anything else.

    I like these two, they come across to me as genuinely nice people

    • Erinn says:

      I agree. I think that’s the problem though. Most parents either don’t want to monitor or they just don’t care. They’re content with the screens being babysitters so they let way too much slide. And then they’ll go on and on about how obsessed their kids are and how their grades dropped….but do nothing to mitigate it. There are a lot of people who just want to put the blame on poor behavior on the device rather than the fact that they’re dropping the ball as parents.

    • Alissa says:

      You can get them the phones that are only able to call 911 or selected contacts (like parents). Most kids with phones seem to get the ones with all access, and they also have Snapchat, Instagram, etc.

      We’ve told my stepson he doesn’t need a phone until he’s staying home alone after school. At this point he’s either with parents, family, or family friends, and there’s always an adult around.

      • derpshooter says:

        Yeah, we’ve pretty much decided that when the oldest starts asking for a phone, we’re getting her jitterbug. It will probably take an emergency to get her to use it! Texting will be so fun for her when she has to push 3-3-4-4-4-2-7-7 or whatever to spell things! Even text speak will be work! And no multimedia messages eating up our data plan. And we will definitely get her the COOLEST dongle all the kids had to have… in 2014.
        I’m kind of making jokes about this, but I also really mean the jitterbug part.

    • Nancy says:

      I’m with you Snowflake. I feel perfectly comfortable with our two kids (over 12) having their wrist phones. They both had them at a younger age. There are nuts in the world and I want to give them a chance to call us or the police. A little bit of security. Sometimes you have to trust your kids not to abuse their privileges and amazingly they don’t. On topic, happy they’re happy, but can’t imagine leaving John Stamos for Jerry. Oh well, to each their own.

      • Snowflake says:

        Ikr?! John for Jerry?! When she did it, i thought what?! But like they say I guess, looks aren’t everything. But damn, Stamos was hot back in the day

  7. CharliePenn says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only parent out here who thinks it’s perfectly fine to say “no. End of discussion”.
    How many many times I hear parents saying they just CAN’T take this or that away, enforce this or that rule etc. What?! Who is running this show, the little child or the parent with life experience and wisdom? Children need and deserve for their parents to make strong decisions for them and stick to it.

    • justwastingtime says:

      I have no problem saying no and agree that most kids don’t know how to use cell phones at an early age.

      My little one is 10 and got a phone this year – one of the last kids in her class to do so. I got it for her due to my temporary increase in business travel and due to the fires in our area which led to our evacuation late last year. She just wants to to speak with me at times and I want to be available to her when I am on the road via facetime. We set automatic time limits on her phone to use apps – and parental limits related to who she can text with and I monitor it. She knows that if she abuses it the other aspects of the smart phone, it will be replaced with a flip phone : ).

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Yep, this is all down to parenting. I did not get a cell phone until I was 18 and paid for one myself. We did have little tracphones that could only call numbers that were programmed i.e. our parents, a few family members that lived around, but that was it. I knew not to ask for anything more—-because the answer was “I’m not paying for anything more, so if you want it, get a job”. I was never all that interested in texting, etc so I never bugged out to have a phone. But we also did not use anything other than family computers, etc until again….I was 18 and bought my own laptop.

      I think it is sad that so many kids are used to having their own and not being monitored via their time on it. Even if it is just theirs, and they don’t have to share. It should be used for a set amount of time, or only when it is unavoidable (like long road trips, etc).

    • BchyYogi says:

      I take responsibility. If I could do it over again, he’d have scrappy outdoor playtime, but we have lived so far from ppl for too long!

  8. AnnaKist says:

    Nawww, the white dog is smiling! This is a nice story.

  9. SJR says:

    Agreed. Parenting needs to be consistent, kids need security and should not be running the house or behavior. Of course, that means parents actually need to do the hard work of teaching and interacting themselves. Dang right far too many let the devices keep the kids busy.

  10. Deadnotsleeping says:

    Both of my kids (10 and 12) have phones, and it’s a non issue for us. They have parental controls on them and know we can check their texts at any time. They don’t have Snapchat, instagram, facebook or tiktoc. They each got a phone on their 9th birthday. Both my kids are involved in multiple activities (swim team, dance, soccer, etc) and my husband travels a lot for work. It’s not uncommon for me to drop a kid off go and then immediately go across town to drop another kid off. When the girl is at dance, she’s there for hours at a time.

    They both have classes where the teachers post work online. Both my kids have taken tests, studied using the quizlet app, and emailed their teachers on their phones. They’ve also FaceTimed their friends to study or to work on group projects together. They also text/talk/FaceTime their friends, but not until all homework is finished.

    Which is my long way of saying that phones are just another tool, and, while they can be misused, I don’t know a single person who has ever said their kid’s grades suffered after getting one.

    • Esmom says:

      I said above that my kids’ grades didn’t suffer after getting phones. But I do worry about other issues, most notably social skills. One of their coaches, who is also an AP Psych teacher, said he’s noticed a marked decline in social skills over the last 10 years and he attributes it to devices. And my college freshman said everyone’s preoccupation with their phones, with earbuds always in, makes meeting other people very challenging.

      And don’t get me started on all the “grownups” glued to their phones. I was at a swim meet last week and a dad sitting in front of me scrolled through his social media the whole time. Barely even looked up for his kid’s races. Ugh.

      We as humans need to step away from the devices. (I declare as I type on my laptop, sigh.)

      • maria s says:

        I’m embarrassed to admit as a grown-up, when I bought my smart phone I became so hooked at first. I spend quite a lot of time on my laptop in the evenings but the phone is way worse because you can take it everywhere, obviously. I had to make a conscious effort to leave it alone and treat it more like my old phone. I remember buying some new books afterwards and realizing I hadn’t done that in almost a year. That phone definitely changed my habits for the worse.

    • Nancy says:

      Deadnotsleeping: Your household sounds like mine. Your moniker cracks me up! I used to want you dead, now I only want you gone! End song of Portal 2. Haha. Catchy little diddy!

  11. Lindy says:

    I have a 9yo son and a 9 month old son. Incredibly, kids in my older son’s 4th grade class are starting to get smartphones. I’m a fairly laid-back (non helicopter) parent and used to get the side eye for letting my son climb trees and exercise a little more Independence than others might have.

    But. The one and only parenting thing about which I’ve been adamant is screen time and technology. We had zero television until he was 3 and even then, it was 1 or 2 thirty minute shows per week.

    Now, he has zero screen time during the week. No TV, no tablet, nothing. On weekends he can earn screen time by doing the equivalent amount of other activities: reading, playing outside, art, helping with housework.

    There is so much reliable research showing how addictive and disruptive screens are, not only for kids but adults as well. I know some people will talk about moderation and call me an alarmist but I promise I’m not a crazy overbearing mom in any other way. The evidence about its negative impact just keeps adding up.

    I don’t blame Rebecca for saying no as long as possible on that front.

    • Esmom says:

      Good for you, Lindy, stay strong. (See my rant just above.) I just read a piece in the New Yorker by noted neurologist Oliver Sacks about this very topic and his despair is alarming. I wish we could put the tech — smartphones in particular — genie back into the bottle.

    • Ennie says:

      Good idea about the
      Equivalent time, Linda

    • Vizia says:

      Yup, the research points not only to changes in behavior, but there’s evidence that it actually changes our brains. More research is being done, but limiting screen time for everyone in the household, not just kids, improves behavior, concentration and quality of sleep at the very least.

      • Lolafalana says:

        And this is why my husband and I never adopted cell phones ourselves. It is amazing to me how quickly, and without question EVERYONE bought into having them without considering the negative affects they could potentially have. Zombie people everywhere, people not acknowledging service workers who are helping them, pedestrian and driver accidents. My daughter and I will both get cell phones in 2 years when she’s in high school – it’s not that I don’t see the value. But I’m still amazed at what this has done to public life, let alone people’s ability to function in the world.

  12. Nacho_friend says:

    Love it when Jerry hosts the Wendy show! I find him hilarious and actually stay around to watch the entire show bc he’s insane!!!

  13. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    My sons started crying for mobils in elementary because ‘everybody’ had them. My youngest is in 7th, and that’s when we acquiesced. Middle school is like a turning point, and I think phone usage carries plenty of learning experiences to master. From responsibility to kindness and everything between.

  14. Sparkly says:

    I actually forgot those two were together. With 10 yr old kids! That’s way too young for a phone, imo. But I don’t even have a cell phone. I need to get a new one, but I can’t really afford it right now. I gave my 13 yo my old phone, pretty much solely for reading fanfic on. It can still use our internet even though it’s not in service, but he can’t text or make calls with it.

  15. Jess says:

    I’ve been a solid hell no on phones for my 11 year until two weeks ago, I always said she could have one around 13 or 14 with very limited use. Most of her friends got phones YEARS ago, which is crazy to me. So my husband went to get a new phone because his stopped charging and they had a deal where you buy one iPhone and get another free if you add a line, which was only an extra 17 bucks per month, and I just said screw it let’s do it. We got new phones and she took my old one. She’s away from home 4 days a week at dance and is starting to go out of town on weekends for dance competitions too, I also started leaving her places like the community pool last summer since she’s old enough to be there with friends without me. So those are the instances where she’ll have the phone and it puts my mind at ease. I want her to have the independence I had as a child in the 80’s, but I tend to hover as most of us do today, my mind races when I think of all the news stories of children being kidnapped or killed, but I know it’s not doing her any good and she needs to feel secure in herself and learn real life skills without me hovering over her nonstop.

  16. Dazed and confused says:

    As a middle school teacher, I wish parents would wait past 8th grade to give their children smartphones. I loathe them. I have watched anxiety soar in my students over the last 10 years. I think the 24 hour a day access to their peers is a strong component of their anxiety. Ther is no cooling off period when drama happens. It’s asking a lot of kids at a critical time in their social development. Very few parents put those things on lock down the way they need to be.

    It could just be my school district, but we have loads parents who text their child during the day. One of my student’s mom was shopping for him and sending pictures of clothes to see if he liked them. Honestly, if that is where you rank the importance of education, just take him shopping with you.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Okay that’s just insane. Phones are supposed to be off limits during class! And what parent chit-chats during school hours? Leave em alone. How are they supposed to develop academically or socially if they suffer mothers’ invasions all day?

      • Dazed and confused says:

        Mabs A’Mabbin – exactly! Phones are supposed to be turned off and in the lockers all day, but 8th graders try to circumvent that at any opportunity. That particular instance was probably the most severe. But our students text their parents often. Our nurse has been frustrated because students will text to their parents that they don’t feel good. Next thing you know, parents are at the front office to pick them up. When before, they had to go to the nurse and at least try to feel better before calling home.

        From what I have observed over the last decade, Smartphones are too much freedom and responsibility for the majority of middle school students.

  17. Lea says:

    My son is 10 and has to have a phone because he walks to the bus stop and then takes the city bus to go to school by himself (there is no dedicated school bus here). I use the Google family app to see him on the map in real time and I feel better knowing that he can call me at any time.
    His phone is only for that, he doesn’t have any games on it. He sometimes watches YouTube Kids but that’s pretty much it.

  18. LadyT says:

    I love it! “It’s not a fight, the answer is no.” Perfection.

  19. KidV says:

    My son got a cell phone and dropped out of college…

    (He did drop out of college soon after taking control of his own cell phone bill, insurance, etc, but one had nothing to do with the other, he kept getting promoted at work and preferred work over finishing school)

    I’m a Rebecca stan. I thought she and John Stamos made such a gorgeous couple, but she and Jerry make sense. They go together, they fit.

  20. Raina says:

    My teenager asked me: I either get a phone or a hooker.
    So there is that.

    We all laughed/cried much.

    #onthespectrum #saywhatyoumean
    Been a helluva ride with my kid. I should start a blog. He’s something else.

  21. stormyshay says:

    We made the mistake and bought our daughter an iPhone when she turned 11 and was entering middle school. Big mistake. She is involved in a lot of extracurricular activities and we wanted to be able to get in touch with her and vice versa. The school has a no phones during school hours policy, which I think is great. But we have noticed a huge change in her behavior since getting a phone. She has become moody and rude at times. There has also been an increase in drama between her friends since they all have cell phones. If we allow her to, she is on it from the time she gets in from school until bedtime. She went from having A/B grades in math to completely failing. All electronics usage has since been taken away. She will not get them back until the end of the school year and only if she has a B in Math. We will not make the same mistake with our younger daughter. She will not be getting a phone when entering middle school.

  22. knotslaning says:

    My oldest got a phone last year when she turned 10. I think it really depends on where you live and what kind of home you have. My daughter walks with her sister (8) to school in the morning and then walks home in the afternoon. We live in Brooklyn and don’t have a landline, so the only way she can contact us from home is with a cell phone. Also, kids start middle school here at 10/11 years old and they are taking public transportation to get there, so it feels much safer for her to be able to contact me while she is traveling. I have not seen a drop in her grades or a decrease in her social life. I love to be able to text with her and for her to have autonomy. There are many, many restrictions on this phone so I am monitoring but it fits our lifestyle for her to have a phone.

  23. CuriousCole says:

    Good for her, and I say a solid Hell NO to smartphones for children and pre-teens. A while back my family learned that my niece’s “friends” had been spending months trying to get her to suicide, via social media apps like SnapChat. She was 12. In and out of psych wards for over a year as a result. If you want your kid to be able to call you, fine, go dig out a basic flip phone, which is exactly what I’ll be doing for my own kids one day. Even without the certainty of cyber-bullying, and online predators, there are too many attention and anxiety problems that come with tech screen time.