Jodie Sweetin knows what it's like to spend a childhood under a constant and relentless spotlight. But the former child actor and current star in Netflix's "Fuller House" and Hallmark movies says she still feels blindsided by the pressure social media exerts on kids today.
"With the advent of social media, I think it's even harder because you're a kid," Sweetin told TODAY. "You're going to do dumb things. You're going to post dumb things. You're going to do silly things. And now all of the attention is on so many young people to be perfect and look good. ... It's a lot of pressure."
As a mom of two daughters — Zoie, 10, and Beatrix, 8 — Sweetin finds herself trying to shield her kids from getting disillusioned or misled on the internet.
"I have honest conversations with them about what social media really is — that it's not real," Sweetin said. "The things that you see, that you wish you looked like, or you wish you were, are not the real people. ... It's edited."
The 36-year-old mom also talks with her daughters about smart online behavior and etiquette.
"I tell my kids, 'Don't put anything on the internet that you don't want to see for the rest of your life,'" Sweetin said.
Her older daughter has an Instagram account that she monitors closely. "I was actually really proud of her," Sweetin said. "I went through some of her stuff. And I saw some of her comments. I always tell them to be positive and not to be mean. I have no patience for any sort of cyberbullying."
Sweetin began acting more than 30 years ago as Stephanie Tanner in "Full House" when she was 5 years old. She said she still loves acting as much as she did from the very beginning.
"I never feel more at home than I do when I'm on set," she said. "I always loved it and I still love it."
Her advice for parents who dream of helping their children break into acting?
"This is a business where you have to be willing to give everything," Sweetin said. "If that's not something that your kid wants to do because they don't love it enough, don't push them into doing it because they'll resent it. ...
"As a kid, you have to be willing to work when you don't feel like it, and show up to auditions when you don't want to go, and miss out on school events and activities and birthday parties ... because you're working or you're auditioning or you're traveling. That's a commitment that you have to make."
In her 2009 memoir "UnSweetined," Sweetin wrote candidly about the years she spent struggling with alcohol and drug addiction after "Full House" went off the air in 1995. She's also talked honestly with her daughters about her past.
"My kids know that I'm sober," she said. "They know that I don't drink. And they know ... that I used to a lot, and I don't want to anymore because I don't do it well. Some people can have a couple drinks, and I'm just not one of those people. And they're like, 'OK, cool.'
"I'm really open with my kids, whether it be about drugs and alcohol, whether it be about sex, social media — whatever it is, they're smart. And I treat them as such. I have to have those open conversations with them because if I don't, they're going to get misinformation somewhere else."
Above all, Sweetin said, she tries to lead by example with her kids.
"The best thing that I can do for them is just be an example of not only what recovery looks like, but what just being a good human looks like," she said. "I have these amazing, interesting, individual, strong, fierce little women. ... I hope that I am raising little social justice warriors (who) will do good in the world."