Chip and Joanna Gaines don’t let their kids have social media until college—here’s why

Chip and Joanna with social media stock image
Joanna Gaines/Instagram/Teer Konnakan/Getty

Navigating social media with teens isn’t easy for any parent. During a recent appearance on Today with Hoda & Jenna, Chip and Joanna Gaines revealed how they approach this sticky subject with their five kids, 19-year-old Drake, 17-year-old Ella, 16-year-old Duke, 14-year-old Emmie, and 5-year-old Crew.

“One of the things we all agree with is that we’re careful when it comes to cellphones and social media with our kids. What is y’all’s stance? Just help us raise our children,” host Bush Hager joked.

Joanna responded, “Our house rule is you get social media the summer before you go to college. So we have that time. So 18. We have that time to kind of work through that whole…” before trailing off.

Chip then added, “But it’s a challenge! I mean, you can tell these kids want it before that. It’s not like it’s this agreed place to where we’ve all decided at roughly 18 and they’re like, ‘Oh thank goodness. I didn’t want it to begin with.’ They want it at 12, 13, 14.”

Any parent can probably relate to that. Joanna agreed with her husband, but said that their kids luckily don’t pester them too much about getting on the apps.

“They’ve kind of been quiet about it. Like I’d say, I haven’t said anything to them but I’d say for the last year, no one’s asked for it,” she said. “I think they just know the heart behind it. Which is hard, I think because all their other friends have it. But I’m like, you have some other things.”

A 2022 Mayo Clinic survey showed that 35% of teens ages 13-17 are on at least one social media platform and use it several times a day. The social media platforms explored in the survey included YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Mayo found that online social networks can help teens express themselves, connect with others, and find groups they share common traits with—especially if they belong to any marginalized communities, like LGBTQ+ youth.

However, social media use among young people isn’t without risks. Mayo also noted that social networks can distract teens from homework and other responsibilities, disrupt sleep, spread misinformation, and impact mental health. Multiple other studies, both in the U.S. and internationally, have also linked social media use to poorer mental health in teens and preteens.