During her BAFTA award acceptance speech on May 14, 2023, Winslet called on parents and guardians to help protect children from the dangers of social media.
Kate Winslet won the BAFTA award for her leading role in "I Am Ruth." The captivating show explores the poignant narrative of a mother witnessing the repercussions of her teenage daughter's excessive engagement with social media. Winslet stars alongside her daughter, Mia Threapleton, who appears in the production as "Freya." In her poignant acceptance speech on May 14, 2023, Kate Winslet passionately urged parents and guardians to actively safeguard children from the perils of social media. Her words resonated deeply with the audience, striking a chord with many who were moved by her heartfelt message, per Evening Standard. The 47-year-old actress called for "people in power" to "criminalize harmful content."
Winslet said, “'I Am Ruth' was made for parents and their children, for families who feel that they are held hostage by the perils of the online world, for parents who wish they could still communicate with their teenagers, but who no longer can." Pew Research Center survey reported that 95% of teenagers have an account on at least one social media platform. Parents should be more concerned than ever about how platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are seriously destroying the mental health of children. Winslet added, "For young people who have become addicted to social media and its darker sides: this does not need to be your life."
‘Don't let children have a phone if they’re too young to know what to do with it’— BBC Woman's Hour (@BBCWomansHour) May 15, 2023
Kate Winslet has won Best Actress at the #Baftas for I Am Ruth.
Last year, she told us she agrees with Children’s Commissioner for England @Rachel_deSouza about not giving children smartphones ⬇️
Winslet extended her plea for help by saying, "Please eradicate harmful content, we don’t want it. We want our children back. We don’t want to lie awake, terrified by our children’s mental health. And to any young person who might be listening, who feels trapped in an unhealthy world: Please ask for help."
She added, "There is no shame in admitting that you need support. It will be there just ask for it." Winslet's social media awareness speech came as the House of Lords continued its scrutiny of the Online Safety Bill, which aims to tackle illegal and harmful content online. The Bill sets forth a set of laws to protect children and adults from harmful dangers on social media.
Following Prince William’s call for better protection of children online after the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell in 2017, who ended her life after viewing suicide and self-harm content online, the bill has come to light and is said to pass more quickly.
According to The Guardian, the Molly Rose Foundation, established by the family of teenager Molly Russell, said it was time the government “listened to the chorus of concerned parents” and delivered strong legislation to protect young people from damaging online content. A spokesperson for the foundation said, "It makes no difference if you are the winner of a best actress Bafta or the heir to the throne: families across the UK are concerned about keeping children safe in our unregulated digital world."
No parent should ever have to endure what Ian Russell and his family have been through. They have been so incredibly brave. Online safety for our children and young people needs to be a prerequisite, not an afterthought. W— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) September 30, 2022
Beeban Kidron, a leading online safety campaigner, said, “Kate Winslet is giving voice to what millions of parents and children are expressing.” Speaking to the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Winslet said the decision to focus on children's mental health followed a conversation with the film's creator Dominic Savage about how parents can help "when they can clearly see there's a problem". It had to cover "what's actually going on with that phone, how it impacts on their self-esteem, how it impacts on eating habits, their mental state in terms of thinking about things like self-harm," Winslet added.