Bear Grylls: ‘We don’t have social media rules with our kids’

The TV presenter believes teens should learn to police themselves

Bear Grylls has revealed that he allows his teenage children to set their own social media limits.

The adventurer and TV presenter has urged young people to limit their screen usage in an effort to combat depression and anxiety.

Yet he believes that parents do not need to intervene when children are older, explaining that he allows his – Jesse, 19, Marmaduke, 17, and Huckleberry, 14 – to decide how long they spend on sites such as Instagram and TikTok.

“We don’t have rules with our kids of, ‘You can only be on it for five minutes a day, or 50 minutes a day, or whatever’. I say, ‘Set your rules. Tell me your goals in life then set your rules accordingly. Tell me about how your homework’s looking and set your rules,’” The Telegraph reported him as saying.

“You’re in charge. Because after you leave school, nobody is going to be policing it for you. You will have to police your own life – and that might be eating healthily, or going to the gym, or somebody treats you badly in a relationship and having some barriers. Whatever it is.

“So you’ve got to police yourself with social media as well.”

The number of young people aged 16 to 24 in the UK suffering with depression or anxiety is on the rise, and 96 per cent of those surveyed saying their mental health has negatively impacted their academic performance, according to the mental health charity Mind.

Too much time spent on gaming, smartphones and watching television has been repeatedly linked to increased chances of suffering with mental health issues such as depression and low self-esteem.

Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, found that kids who spend more time on screens tend to be less happy than youngsters who engage in activities like playing sports, reading traditional printed media socialising with friends in person.

Mr Grylls told the Evening Standard: “Tackling mental health and raising awareness for issues such as anxiety and depression is important in today’s society. This challenge of building strong mental resilience is made harder for young people with ever increasing screen time. This has been proved to cause a decline in mental health.

“I have found taking part in simple tasks such as going for a walk or working out or taking on a new challenge with friends really helps my mental health.”

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