Jennifer Garner's three children are going to have to break out the charts, graphs and PowerPoint presentations if they want her approval to be on social media.
The star of the upcoming Apple TV+ series "The Last Thing He Told Me" spoke with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on TODAY on April 11 about how she has kept her children off social media without her teenagers resenting her.
"I just said to my kids, ‘Show me the articles that prove that social media is good for teenagers, and then we’ll have the conversation,'" Garner said. "Find scientific evidence that matches what I have that says that it’s not good for teenagers, then we’ll chat."
Garner, 50, shares daughters Violet, 17, and Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 11, with ex-husband Ben Affleck.
In one instance, the government has already intervened when it comes to teens and social media. Last month, Utah became the first state to require parental consent for minors to use social media after Gov. Spencer Cox signed two bills into law.
The laws require all social media companies to verify the age of any Utah resident who uses their site and mandates parental consent be obtained if the user is a minor.
Numerous studies have found links between negative mental health effects in teens and an increase in social media use, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Garner said her daughter Violet has appreciated being away from social media. Seraphina and Samuel, meanwhile, are entering the prime age of when many kids start asking parents if they can create their own accounts.
"My eldest is grateful," Garner said. "It’s a long haul. I have a couple more to go, so just knock on wood. We’ll see if I really hang in there."
Garner plays the stepmother of a teenager in "The Last Thing He Told Me," which starts streaming on April 14.
‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ limited series is in the worksJan. 19, 202300:55
The series, based on the 2021 best-selling book by Laura Dave, tells the story of a woman teaming up with her teen stepdaughter to track down her husband after he goes missing.
"It's really a story about motherhood," Garner said.
Garner also can relate in some part as a mom of teenagers herself.
"I’m familiar," she said. "My teens are pretty great, so I can’t really toss them in there. It’s a different scenario, different friction, but I am familiar with being deeply embarrassing, yes."
Julia Roberts was initially up for the role played by Garner in "The Last Thing He Told Me," but once she was unavailable to do it, Garner jumped into action.
"I put my kids to bed, I brewed some coffee, and I stayed up all night writing impassioned letters about, 'I don't do this really very often, but I really feel called to play this role, I love it so much and here's why,'" Garner said.
"Once (Roberts) wasn't available, I thought, 'Oh, before my colleagues and peers know about this, I have to get in there and go hard core,' and it worked."