April 15th, 2010
11:40 AM ET
8 years ago

Obamas limit time first daughters spend online

Michelle Obama limits the amount of time the first family spends online, she said Wednesday in an interview with CNN.

Michelle Obama limits the amount of time the first family spends online, she said Wednesday in an interview with CNN.

Washington (CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama revealed Wednesday that there are strict rules on the use of technology within the walls of the White House's East Wing - at least during the week and only if your name is "Sasha" or "Malia."

"[I]n my household, you know, we try to establish a set of guidelines and rules that make sense - no computers, phones, television during the week," the first lady said Wednesday in an interview with CNN en Espanol's Juan Carlos Lopez that aired on CNN's The Situation Room.

Obama called the question of how much technology is too much a generational issue, but said educators and parents are beginning to understand the unique challenges posed by the Internet and social networking platforms.

"We talk a lot with [our daughters] about the dangers of Facebook and sort of getting into that social networking kind of gossip mill or, you know, that - that comes from those activities," the first lady said, "[W]e spend a lot of time talking to our kids. And fortunately, more schools are understanding the challenges and they're doing more to educate families, as well as parents and children, about the pros and cons of excessive use of the Internet and all these new networking technologies."

Obama is in Mexico as part of her first solo official trip as first lady. On Wednesday morning, Obama met with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala at Los Pinos, the Mexican president's residency. Other events on her itinerary included a tour of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) and a public elementary school that serves local low-income students.

On Tuesday, she made a surprise visit to the earthquake ravaged nation of Haiti.

Filed under: Michelle Obama • Obama family • Popular Posts • Social Media
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. nate

    I think her limits are too strict. but kudos to Mrs. Obama for being a good parent and example for others to follow.

    April 15, 2010 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  2. Charlotte Crist

    That's the first really strange thing I've heard come out of the First Lady's mouth...I thought they were both educated. I cannot see the benefit of imposing "guidelines" like that. What are Sasha and Malia doing on the weekends? Catching up with the worlds past week events, friends, etc. I'm sure it must be very exciting to READ about how the contestants did on American Idol! I actually would call those imposing rules non-guidelines.

    April 15, 2010 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  3. Jorgor Barrie

    What a BRIGHT EXAMPLE to set for families around this world and beyond!

    No wonder Barack and Michelle OBAMA are so SPECIAL INTELLECTUALS. Its very easy to see that it all stem from their own upbringings. We heard it several times from them during the presidential campaign and we are still hearing it from them.



    April 15, 2010 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Glad to see that some parents do care enough about making sure their children are safe and not looking at things they shouldn't until they are much older.
    Nothing more pathetic than the twittering!

    April 15, 2010 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Pkm mrs obama show the rest of the world what real family values are nice job mrs obama

    April 15, 2010 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  6. Jim Hall

    The President and Mrs Obama and Grandma are wonderful role models for parents and many parents should follow in their foot steps. Much of the problems with our society today is that parents (or if you call them that) bring children into the world and ship them to the schools, teachers, shopping malls, the pizza place, etc and expect the rest of us people to take care of them. Our parents brought us children up the same way the Obama's bring up their daughters. That is totally wrong Jim Hall Kansas City, Missouri.

    April 15, 2010 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  7. Jim Hall

    Sorry I made a mistake. It is to early in the morning. The last sentence should have read "Our parents brought us children up the same way the Obama's bring up their daughters and the other way of expecting society to bring up your children is totally wrong Jim Hall Kansas City, Missouri.

    April 15, 2010 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  8. William Vitalli

    while I understand them wanting to spend more time as a family, today's kids must not be cut away from technology, and live as they were in the 1700s. Social media, communication, and information are vital aspects of our economy and our lifes; Obama restricting access to his daughters to those vital aspects brings into question for his overall plan for this country. What will stop him from placing federal restrictions for internet ise in every household? Do not trust big government.

    April 15, 2010 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  9. Bill

    Nice to see that a parent of today, especially one who is so high profile, can be a 'real' parent, and do some parenting! Kids today are easily overwhelmed with a plethora of technology-related information and peer pressure, and putting a limitation on their exposure is good for them.
    Those that allow their children to whine and cry their way into doing anything they want are only doing their kids a disservice, and dodging their responsibilities as parents. Stop trying to be your child's friend, and be their parent (it's okay if you're the "bad guy" every so often!).
    Hopefully Mrs. Obama will be a positive influence on some of the young parents of today, especially those who didn't have good parenting themselves!

    April 15, 2010 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  10. Yvette

    Okay I love the Obamas, and, I agree with this story as well about the children and limitations to technology during the week. But...Green eggs and ham are I can read books and i pray that Sasha and Malia are not on that level anymore!!! On top of that...turn the book right side up,man!!!!!!

    April 15, 2010 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  11. Terry

    Congratulations to the First Lady, control of phones and the Internet will be appreciated later by both of her daughters. When we were growing up, my parents preached, "Fools names, and fools faces, will always be found in public places". We read, almost everyday, where a young person finds questionable punctures of themselves on Facebook, You Tube, etc. Professional careers are often sidetracked due to, what appear to be, normal things that young people do. It is hard to explain to younger people, but digital data and digital photos, live forever. Anything digital can be altered, and digital photos are the best example of this I can think of that will ruin your life.

    April 15, 2010 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  12. Jeffrey Allen Miller NY

    No TV, 'puters, or any other stupid distraction during week. Smart family! 🙂

    April 15, 2010 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Michelle would be doing the country a huge favour if she limited the amount of time her husband got to spend planning new and better ways to fleece the American taxpayer and "redistribute the (stolen) wealth" to people who can't be bothered to work for a living.

    April 15, 2010 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  14. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Well, it's a good idea. I did that with my kids, too (they are now 34 and 20.) They are not major TV watchers either – my son (34) is a movie fanatic.... old, new, whatever... and my daughter prefers to be out and about. They were both like that. It didn't hurt them one bit. They do use computers a lot, but not when growing up...that was limited with parental controls, for my daughter. Now, my son is a teacher and my daughter is in college so they need the computers. BUT, they don't spend inordinate amounts of time on them...I am probably on them more than they are. Good for the Obamas, in trying to maintain a "normal" life in the face of their positions.

    April 15, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. Jesse in Maryland

    Good for her! While I may not agree with her husband's policies, I am always grateful for good role models (for both parents and children) in the public eye. Kudos to Barack and Michelle for taking their parenting duties seriously. I hope many more Americans will follow their example!

    April 15, 2010 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  16. Baby Boomer

    Good Job First Lady!!!

    April 15, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. ronvan

    PARENTAL CONTROL, PARENTAL ENVOLVEMENT, PARENTAL GUIDANCE! The example that should be for all of us!

    April 15, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  18. Socrates43

    Mrs. Obama is right! Children need to live under fair and well defined rules. Children, deep inside, want their parents to be strict.. but fair.
    About the kids that bullie others... I don't blame there.. they are a reflection of the environment in which they are living.. I BLAME the parents who don't guide their children properly. How do you expect children to be kind and understanding if they are going thru a learning process? Look at those individuals that consider themselves "mature" and believers in God.. they are all hate and indirectly they bullie others than don't think as they do. People that consider themselves right.. most of the time are self righteous, opinionated, mean, hateful... and it is their way or no way. Soo.. if older people act with so much hate.. what do you expect from children who are not guided properly and live in an environment in which perhaps the father bullies the mother.

    April 15, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. KJL

    President and Mrs Obama have a lot more to worry about than the average parents, but all of their concerns are valid.

    April 15, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  20. Steve

    How refreshing and optimistic! A first family that actually sets a great role model for parenting, communication and respect from children. Not to mention that she is a Great First Lady and he is a Great, "Do-Something besides declare war" President. Some people complain about Democratic dollar-spending. Compare how and how much they spend to how much we incur in monetary costs every day for the Iraq war. Go President Obama and Michelle!

    April 15, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  21. ross berg- Buffalo NY

    Good for her and long term good for her kids!!

    I've watched my 13 yr. old grandson become engrossed in these electronic devices much to the detriment of more important areas of his growing up ( i.e. sports, homework,chores etc.) and I know he'll suffer for it down the line.

    Good for Michelle!!

    April 15, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  22. Rena

    If you get nothing else from this article, get this: Parents should TALK to their kids. So many parents don't and allow their kids to be 'raised' by TV, internet, athletes, etc... And if you think simply restricting their access to these things helps; you'd better not send them to school. Talk to your kids about difficult and touchy issues!

    April 15, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  23. Steve in Denver

    What an inspirational first family we have! Parents who pay attention to what their kids are doing, provide guidance and set rules. Gives me hope that maybe we can turn around some of this "anything goes" mentality so many parents exhibit.

    Personal responsibility is alive and well!

    April 15, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  24. Desmond in Canada

    Just like it used to be in our home when our kids were in elementary and high school. Excellent results followed!

    April 15, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. John in Tampa

    Zero tv or internet or phone is draeconian. It stifles the mind. An hour a day in total makes more sense to me, say half for news/education and half entertainment, with 5-10 minutes of INCOMING phone for socializing. Or, Michelle, at least a compromise-how about 1 Discovery or Animal channel 3 X per week? Then they won't crave tv so much on weekends.

    April 15, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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