April 15th, 2010
11:40 AM ET
4 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. Colin, RI

    But if the kids don't sit inside playing video games, watching television, and snacking on unhealthy foods, doesn't that mean that parents will have to start taking more of an active role in their childrens' lives? No way most of America would ever go for that!

    Politics aside, the Obamas should be recognized for being excellent parents.

    April 15, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Gloria

    Great First Family......alot of us should follow their example!

    Proud to be an American!!

    April 15, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Joe

    Bravo. I wish more parents would take a cue from the Obamas and realize that unrestricted access to technology is as dangerous as drugs.

    April 15, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. teresa, oh

    ^5 to the Obamas: techonology only separates families.

    Also, another good reason not to allow the girls to be on the net is possible negative comments about thier mom and dad who they adore.

    Truly: when raising kids: we dont need tv, the phone or the internet.
    I thank God that I was too poor to afford most of these while my kids were under 10. They would have only given me a reason NOT to be with the kids.

    April 15, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. B in Pa

    America, get over it!!
    What a loving family !! Truly a role model for us to follow!
    I pray for them constantly.

    April 15, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. chenna benna

    Don't blame them. Too much crazy stuff on the web that kids don't need to see.

    April 15, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. JT the MO college freshman

    I find this really great that we have a family in the White House that focuses on the educational value in life. Of course, if you look at my title, I'm still in school, which I do enjoy very much. I find learning very amusing and informative to get to know the world better around you. Being open minded requires a person to be educated and have common sense at the same time. Being educated allows you to have a better outlook on life; past, present, and future, and being educated also allows you to look at everything through a broad point of view; economic, scientific, historical, psychological, social, and in a moral/personal view as well. Education is the best gift that a child can recieve in his or her life, and it should not be taken for granted at anytime. I hope we start to focus on education reform soon; I feel like that can be one issue that we can hopefully have great bi-partisan support on. Have a great day to everyone.

    April 15, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Mia

    For the person who said this was draconian, get a grip. For those over 40 or 50 we managed just fine and turned out just fine without computers or tvs in every room. I would venture to say we may be better. Technology is great and can make life easier but it also can hinder building important social and life skills.

    Remember we had to do math with our brain, kids are now allowed to use calculators in 3rd grade. WTHeck?

    I think more reading and family time makes more sense. Remember when newspapers were revelant and we did our current events homework with an article from the newspaper. Those were the days :-)

    April 15, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Pepou

    They are wonderful parents, besides being wonderful leaders !

    April 15, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Dar

    Dominican mama 4 Obama April 15th, 2010 10:18 am ET

    Parents that allow their kids unsupervised access to the internet are just asking for trouble. What with all the 'social' sites, Facebook et al, their kids are literally making themselves known to people throughout the world. With the emotional instability and lack of maturity that accompanies the teenage years, parents need to be extra vigilant of their children's activities while on the computer.

    Well put mama, I totally agree. You sure you dont have a little republican in you. :)

    April 15, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Real men and women don't quit just because they have jobs and a career. Children are children whether their parent is a President or First Lady, it's still their responsibility to parent their children. To our children we are the President and First Lady in our household, live up to it.

    April 15, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. SLP

    And yes, I believe that if I'm paying your mortgage, your food bill, clothing and caring for you I get access to your room and your stuff. It may sound antiquated, but al this psychological babble about respecting their privacy, and knocking on doors in your own home, is just that: babble. I wish some little twerp that I'm supporting tells me to knock first before coming in!! You got something of a private nature to do, may I recommend the bathroom, if you catch my drift!

    Dominican Mama for Obama, On this we absolutely agree. Well put. My daughter knows that I have access to her phone, room, facebook page, etc. at any time that I choose. I also limit her internet time.
    On a different note, I do not agree with President Obama on hardly any political issues, but I have always admired the husband and father that he appears to be. He seems to love his wife and daughters very much. He and Michelle appear to have a solid, love filled marriage. For those of you who are criticiizing, it is okay to disagree with his policies, however, I do feel that we should give the President credit when it is deserved.

    April 15, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. annon

    I guess reading books upside-down is a presidential thing.

    April 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Cedien

    i have to disagree with this one here. If everyone were to follow this example the world would start to degrade it self. In this economy its hard enough to get a basic job but ussally if you cant handle a computer your not getting a job. And everyday you dont need to be out side and such i think they are just being stuck up and bad parents

    April 15, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. sadnbra

    Love them!

    April 15, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Steve

    Hey they only did it because Sasha became a fan of Sarah Palin on Facebook.

    April 15, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. ana

    Very pleased to hear this from our First Lady. I do have a question: While I make the healthy dinner for my family, and I don't want my kids next to the oven or playing with sharp utensils, how can I distract kids not to interfere in the kitchen? I can't afford a nanny or other support to watch and entertain my kids while I do the cooking or cleaning the house or paying the bills. Since our First Lady has so much support, what about the rest of us?

    April 15, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Ellid

    @Randy –

    Look again. He's holding up the book as an example of a good book parents can read to their children. Both Malia and Sasha are too old for Dr. Seuss, as anyone who has kids could have told you.

    April 15, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Susan L.

    Wonderful parenting from the Obamas, as usual. They truly walk-the-walk and don't just talk-the-talk.

    But can you imagine if Malia & Sasha were online? The vicious hatred and attacks they'd get from people like MAD IN TEXAS and other crazies. The internet - especially Facebook - is full of crazies with no filter at all. The things that conservative Republican sites like FreeRepublic.com have said about Malia and Sasha are WAY beyond disgusting. The overt racism, sexism, and hate directed at 2 little girls who have done nothing but be 2 little girls is appalling. I hope Malia and Sasha stay well away from the internet for as long as possible or stay very limited to what they can see because no child should be subjected to the kind of over-the-top racist hatred that is constantly spewed at the Obama family by Republicans and "Conservatives".

    April 15, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    When there's already a Blackberry addict in the family, it should be obvious that the kids need to be taught better.

    April 15, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. quinLee

    It is so amazing how there are so many people mad as he11, but are either too ignorant to know why or too evil and selfish to give a dang about anything except themselves.

    April 15, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Michael O. Grafton

    I have been an educator for many years and have seen some very interesting situations when it comes to parents raising or not raising their children. Anyone who can see wrong in what Mr. and Ms. Obama are doing with their children should consider spending some quality time working with children who are unfortunate enough to not have "proper" guidance, love, and role models. Although I can't say for certain, I am almost sure that those two little ladies are a pleasure to work with in the classroom and I would dare say it's because of the guidance, love, and example set by their parents. There is a thing called family literacy and if this is "a publicity shot" it's a good one because it is a sterling example for promoting the concept of family literacy!

    April 15, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. John

    obama and his thug of a wife are the most hateful, racist, and untrusting people to ever live in the white house. The majority of america cringes to think what they are doing in that presitious house. 2012 can't come soon enough. Good riddence to bad rubbish.

    April 15, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Seattle Girl

    Just as I suspected - Pres. Obama and the first lady are excellent parents! Kudos to you both!!

    April 15, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. Sad

    I wonder how the first daughters are progressing in school. Every school in the U.S. are using the internet for classroom and homework research as well as providing parents with an update of their child's progress in school and homework in formation...Isolation is not the key to raising a good child. It is communication, trust and letting your child become aware of it surrounding, so he or she can protect and educate their self....Sara Palin did not talk about sex to her oldest child...Look where that got her oldest child....Another form of isolation and the result of a child learning life the hard way instead of becoming educated by the parent and letting trusting the child to no the difference what to do and not to do in a situation based on your parenting skills.

    April 15, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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