Rosario Dawson’s daughter, 16, doesn’t have a cell phone: ‘I didn’t have one’

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Rosario Dawson did an interview on Access Live about three weeks ago I’m not going to lie. (I was mildly desperate to find stories in this post holiday slump so I started watching celebrity videos and realized I should be doing this more regularly.) Anyway Rosario has a 16 year-old daughter, she adopted her daughter in 2014 when the girl was 12. That’s really cool and I didn’t know that about her. I can’t find her daughter’s name so I think Rosario tries to shield her from fame, although she has brought her on the red carpet. Rosario said she embarrassed her daughter by posting a strategically nude photo of herself on her 39th birthday. She doesn’t let her daughter have a cell phone however because she thinks it’s detrimental to brain development and because she didn’t have one.

She embarrassed her daughter with a semi-nude selfie
I have a teenager in high school who was just like ‘mom, I have kids who follow you online.’ I’m like ‘right well there’s probably a lot more compromising stuff about mommy online from different characters.’

This is about me and I just feel especially in this industry you get to a certain age they want you to sort of like disappear. You don’t get enough people celebrating and actually saying their age.

Her tips for heath
Getting enough sleep. Drinking a lot of water. [She represents Quaker] I eat a lot of oatmeal. [It’s good for] fiber and energy.

Her daughter doesn’t have a cell phone
No cell phone. No social media. I just think it’s really critical. I grew up, I didn’t have one. You’re seeing more and more stuff around brain development and how important it is that we learn three dimensionally. I talked to her about it. I go ‘you can see this with a lot of other kids who are developing themselves online according to the likes and dislikes they get. You don’t need that right now.’

[From Access Live]

OK so on one hand she’s like “yeah I’m posting semi-nude selfies, deal” and on the other she doesn’t let her 16 year-old daughter have a cell phone! How does her daughter keep in touch with her friends? Couldn’t Rosario set limits on it, like only an hour or so a day after homework is done, or tell her she’s not allowed to have Instagram? We didn’t have cell phones when we were kids because they didn’t exist. The entire accumulation of human knowledge is now on demand in our pockets. Plus teenagers have a whole social life that plays out online, and not necessarily on Instagram. There’s a way to let your teenager have access to the best parts of the Internet while keeping them away from the worst. Maybe her daughter has a computer though and other ways to use technology to be social. It’s Rosario’s prerogative of course and I understand wanting to keep teens off social media.

Here’s the video of Rosario’s interview:



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54 Responses to “Rosario Dawson’s daughter, 16, doesn’t have a cell phone: ‘I didn’t have one’”

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  1. Peg says:

    “We did not have cellphones, because they didn’t exist” fact.
    Rosaria, here is a tip, teenagers can find ways around any rule, your daughter’s friends maybe keeping her cellphone for her.

    • minx says:

      Exactly. I would bet that’s the case.

    • Jessica says:

      Who is paying the hidden phone bill???? I doubt she has a credit card.

      She can always use a landline or borrow a friend’s phone. She will be fine.

      • minx says:

        You can get prepaid. My daughter has it. $50 a month, no bill.

      • Jessica says:

        If her friends have the phone it kind of defeats the purpose. She can’t use it to communicate with them outside of school other than email or a landline. Either way, she’ll live.

    • BorderMollie says:

      And banning stuff often makes it more alluring for kids. I think her heart’s totally in the right place, she seems genuinely kind hearted and thoughtful, but practically speaking this rule is unlikely to work out.

    • MyBlackCats says:

      Stay strong Rosie- your girl will thank you. I hate the cell phone for my teen. It’s a bad manner device and a drug. Prolly a listening device and worse than we currently know. I’m just not brave enough to take it from my son!

  2. uninspired username says:

    I’d at least give a kid a phone for emergencies.

    • onerous says:

      This is why we ended up giving our kids phones when they started extracurriculars. When I was growing up there was a pay phone or someone in the school office after hours to let you call home of practice ended early or something like that. Now none of that even exists! My older kids are almost 16 and 14 – they have limits but I also think it’s a good idea to introduce things like that to kids so they get used to managing their public profile, which we all have nowadays.

    • jessamine says:

      My housemate and I have semi-regular custody of his teenage nieces (long story). Their mother does not allow them to have phones because “they’ll be up all night online” and normally I don’t like to actively subvert her wishes but they have phones at my house a) so they can call adults for rides, permission, etc. b) so I can track them, tbh and c) so we can work on appropriate usage, social media boundaries, etc. For example, we all “turn in” our phones to the charging station before family time or by 10pm and honestly this keeps me off my phone into the wee hours as well.

    • otaku fairy says:

      Agreed. Just having them turn it in at a certain time and teaching them to use technology responsibly sounds better. I had my first phone at 14. In my teens, the whole “Phones are destroying the youngin’s!” conversation used to be really irritating. In my 20’s it’s now just eye-roll inducing because it sounds like another ‘Millenials!1′ rant.
      I like her attitude about the semi-nudity though. People always try to use female celebrities’ relatives as slut-shaming tools- whether the woman is in her 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc. and somebody’s mother or the woman is in her teens or 20’s and somebody’s daughter.

    • Kelly says:

      This. My parents got me a cell phone when I started driving after I got lost and accidentally called them from a pay phone next to a strip club (it was dark and raining and I didn’t realize where I was, I just panicked and pulled into the first parking lot I saw). They customized my plan-I only had a very limited amount of minutes, no texting and I was only allowed to call certain people. Surely she could do this with her daughter as well.

  3. Erinn says:

    Boy that’s difficult. I don’t think teens should have completely free reign with phones, but the “I didn’t have one, I turned out fine” argument is dumb. The world keeps changing and you need to adapt to a degree. The reason people can say “well I didn’t have one, it didn’t kill me” is also tied into the fact that very few, if any, of their friends had one. I remember borrowing my dads cell phone when I was in high school to call for a ride back from the tutors. I’d text a little bit. But it was like 4 or 5 texts over a day or two. It wasn’t like it is now. My now husband had one in high school, but it was back in the pay-as-you-go being the main plan for most people phase.

    I think limiting the use, or setting expectations on you being able to check in on it, or whatever is the smartest route. Don’t get them a data plan, make them use wifi. Things like that. There’s plenty of reasons that a phone is useful and helpful in an emergency, so as long as you’re monitoring I think it’s really not a big deal. How much more trouble are they going to get into having a phone than having an ipad or a laptop?

  4. Maya says:

    I didn’t have one until I was 18 but I will still give my children for emergency. I will limit the usage and everything.

  5. Melanie says:

    That’s just dumb. She probably doesn’t vaccinate either. Teenagers needs to learn how to use social media properly and in today’s age it’s your job as a parent to make sure kids are taught how to navigate this slippery slope. Avoidance is not the answer.

    • noodle says:

      jesus, the twisted logic of people…if i don’t give my child cell phone i’m probably antivaxx. if i homeschool i’m antivaxx.if i’m a hippie i’m antivaxx. did you know that I can avoid giving my kids mainstream stuff and still vaccinate?!

      She just hasn’t thought it thru. after this whole noise I think she’ll change her mind.

    • Nene says:

      How on earth did you get anti-vaccination from no cell phone?
      A cell phone really isn’t a necessity. Its her child, let her parent in the way she sees fit.

      • Jessica says:

        People make leaps in logic all the time. She adopted her at 12 so she probably has all of her shots.

    • kim says:

      and it isn’t dumb to make a leap from no mobile to no vaccines? your comment should be screen cap, printed and framed for nominations on most hilariously dubious comment of 2019.

      accepting early noms

  6. ichsi says:

    I really wanna like her, she’s been in some good stuff, she’s gorgeous and I commend her for adopting a 12-year old, but does anyone else get an “off” vibe from her? I can’t even say what it is, there’s something about her that bugs me.

    • TheOtherMaria says:

      Nope, she does a LOT of charity work (low key without promotion), is VERY inclusive when it comes to representation, and she comes off as genuine imo.

      I think it’s cool she adopted an older child, no comment on the cell part, I’m child free 😊

    • Steff says:

      I recall her being a Bernie ride or die. I mean, it was cool to support him in the beginning, but after the primaries… hell no.

      • jeon says:

        Rosario was never Bernie ride or die after the primaries. She very clearly stated that she was voting for Clinton and did so. I can only say that from everything I know about Rosario she seems like a person who has continually followed through with her charitable causes and seems like a fun person to be around. I also commend anyone for adopting an older child, especially looking at the statistics. I think it says a lot about her.

      • MyBlackCats says:

        Only the stupid associates I knew were pro Bernie anti Hillary.

  7. Debby says:

    Her daughter will be fine without a cellphone for a while. Smartphones nowadays make a lot of things easier but I personally think they also limit developing certain necessary abilities. I absolute love that phones have google maps because I’m a disaster at finding places but I’m glad I first got to learn how to use old fashioned maps in case my phone dies on me when I need it. I’m glad I have a lot of information at the tip of my fingers but I’m also glad I learned how to look up and process information the old fashioned way.

  8. Piper says:

    SOrry not sorry…. I saw a new side of Rosario during her Bernie Bros stunt and she was appalling. “Hillary wanted to go to Iraq and get soldiers killed to get money for guns”. I just think she crossed so many lines for Bernie I can’t take anything she says seriously. She’s fake and terrible for those stunts. As for withholding phones… sure, at 16, your kid should be responsible enough to use a phone for emergencies vs no phone at all. But fine.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      Thank you for saying this….so I didn’t have too…

      What she did during the 2016 POTUS campaign was unforgivable…and she lied…like a dirty old rug about EVERYTHING regarding HRC…

      So for me…I place her right next to Susan Sarandon….


  9. Beth says:

    Nobody knew what a cell phone was when I was a teenager, but now you see everyone of any age with a phone in their hands. Toddlers walking around the store while focused on nothing but their phone seems to be normal. My parents didn’t have cd players or laptops, but does that mean we shouldn’t have them just because they didn’t?

  10. Froggy says:

    My sons all got one in 5th grade. They are very active so I got them for tracking, emergencies and calls for rides home. We had rules on social media, they had to have tracking app installed and I took it away at night and they got it back in the morning. Worked for our family.

  11. JoJo says:

    She will be fine.A cell phone is not a necessity.

  12. maggi says:

    I don’t have a cel phone. Had a big old brick-sized one briefly in the 90’s but hated it.
    It is possible, nay, quite delightful, to live without that form of stimulation and connection.
    There are parts of technology that I am deeply grateful for but the cel phone looks like a pathology-inducing toy that is leading people away from living in real time.
    here ends my soapbox
    Happy New Years Celebitches, I sure do enjoy reading this site!!!

  13. Liz says:

    It was cool in my generation not to have a watch. I don’t know why, but we just rejected strapping time to our wrists. I feel like social media being cool will ebb and flow in the same way. It depends on way of life. If you’re already super connected irl, I can see you getting away with not needing social media or even a phone, especially as a minor. It’s not a question of better or worse.

  14. gemcat says:

    Ehh I’m “only” 35 and I’ve had a cellphone for at least 20 years…I think I was around 14 when I got one. And this wasn’t even in the states where I would assume it became more common earlier. Fair enough if you don’t want your kid to have one, your call (no pun intended) until they move is my take. Maybe she meant smartphone, not cellphone…that would make more sense.

    • IMUCU says:

      Wow, I am the same age, but I didn’t know anyone my age who had one until I got to college (and then, again, not everyone at UC until a couple of years in, definitely no texting yet)! I lived in CA and in high school only some of the parents had them. I got one for emergency purposes only in college, otherwise I was still using a calling card on a landline to call home.

      Think it’s awesome she adopted an older child, think I’d like to do that someday…If I can’t (for health reasons), I’ll probably do a program like Big Sisters…

      • Blair Warner says:

        Big Sisters is wonderful … can’t say enough good things about it! Wishing you a great experience.

  15. Case says:

    The world has evolved since she was a teenager, though, and cell phones are an important tool for safety these days. At the very least, her daughter should have a phone for emergencies. I got my first phone when I started middle school — my parents got me a very small plan that was good for a limited number of texts and phone calls, and I really only used it to communicate with them when I was partaking in after-school activities.

    Social media can be damaging, and it’s great if her daughter isn’t into it, but if she feels like she’s missing out, I also feel that it’s wrong to not let her engage at all. Surely limited time on Instagram or something, just to connect with her friends, wouldn’t be harmful.

  16. MaryContrary says:

    How does her daughter communicate with her friends? I understand limiting use, monitoring social media (and not letting them have it until they’re older teens), but honestly, it seems very isolating and controlling to not let her have a cell phone at all. Besides social use, my teens also use their phones for classwork as directed by teachers to look things up. Saying you don’t want your 10 year old not to have a phone is one thing. But in this day and age a 16 year old should have a phone.

    • Rocky says:

      This. The phone part of a cell phone is almost an afterthought now. Kids aren’t phoning each other. But their entire social life revolves around social media. Just like my social life revolved around hanging upside down on a kitchen chair talking on the phone when I was 16. Despite the drama of teenage girls particularly ; kids need to interact with each other. I have a 16 year old boy who has had issues with depression. I completely chalk this up to him going to a different high school where he knew no one. Now that he has a strong friend base and a social life I have a new perspective on how important it is that they can have that community

  17. YesImHere says:

    How does she keep in touch with her friends? Just like we did when I was growing up: the kids had to go through the parents, and then the parents communicated with each other. But a lot of my peers did have access to a landline in the home (this was pre-cellular), but I did not.

    • BabyJane says:

      This is a very interesting point; I never considered the ramifications of removing parent networks from the zeitgeist. Sure, they are friends on facebook or maybe share pinterest links but it’s not the same as speaking on the phone and coordinating plans and considering logistics and safety of children together as a team. I’m going to be thinking on this a while now.

    • Rocky says:

      Your parents were arranging play dates for you at 16?

  18. Rebekah says:

    Yeah I’m with Rosario, sorry. My kiddo has email (she asks to use my laptop, I always say yes), she uses my phone if she needs to, and I plan on making sure she has an emergency phone with her outside the house when she starts driving this year… but no social media, no exclusive phone.

    I don’t think it damages her socially, she’s not angry or resentful about it, and I think we’re just going to learn more and more about how addictive and destructive social media and constant cell phone use is, particularly to developing brains.

  19. sarah says:

    jesus, there’s a lot of mom judgement here. her kid’s fine.

  20. lucy2 says:

    I forgot she had adopted an older child, that’s awesome.

    It’s a different era than when we were kids (I think she’s about my age?) and I would want a kid to have a phone for emergencies, at the very least. A 16 year old is not with their parents 24/7, and learning about trust and responsibility with it are good things. I can imagine it’s pretty terrifying with all the stuff out there though, but I guess that’s where parents need to be involved and teach their kids about the dangers too.

  21. holly hobby says:

    Well we broke down and got our kid a “dumb phone.” Text and calls only on a pay as you go limit (no unlimited anything). That’s because he was involved in after school activities and we wanted him to have access to a phone in case of emergencies.

    We did not give him a smart phone because we want him engaged with people (not heads down on a phone). I’ve seen entire families at dinner with their heads to the phone (no human interaction at all). That is so wrong.

  22. Zeddy says:

    I didn’t get a cellphone until well after my classmates when I was in my later teens. My parents had a land line, and I have to this day never gone into a store where the clerk hasn’t given directions or allowed me to borrow their phones-especially when I was younger. This fear mongering is honestly a little weird.

    • Anon33 says:

      One of the dumbest comments I’ve ever read. You know that people get shot in stores in some cities, right? Yeah. I live in one.

    • Raina says:

      Plus, EVERYTHING is done online now.
      It’s a huge error to make your kid ignorant of how to do things
      Ironically, the most sheltered are the most vulnerable.

  23. Raina says:

    To each their own, but kids will always find a way and insecurity/angst will always happen.

    I say: Get a cell, monitor activity within reason and chill out.
    Life is tough; let them learn and be with the times, not ignorant of them.

  24. Janet says:

    Well I am waiting for this kid to write a book in a few years. She is a control freak. Not having a phone at 16 is just ridiculous. Perhaps she is worried that she is post photos of herself semi-nude and show her up?

  25. Summertime says:

    There is tons of research coming out that shows smartphones (and their easy access to social media and porn) are terrible for children and teens. Our kids are literally ADDICTED to their phones, and it’s becoming a crisis. Many tech industry professionals will not let their kids have smartphones because they know how damaging they can be — from lowering attention spans to increasing suicide risk. So I applaud Rosario for her decision.

    My teens share a phone that they check out from us when they want to text friends or are outside the home. When they are 16, they get their own flip phone, which they help pay for each month. Yes, they hate it at first, but no, they aren’t social pariahs. Both girls have mentioned that their friends are jealous because they aren’t dependent on social media feedback for their self esteem. And my girls say they are happy they aren’t “phone zombies” like their friends. Good parenting isn’t always giving your kids what they want.

  26. Elian says:

    This device is $50 and screen free. Does everything you need it to do for a child. No child needs a smartphone.

  27. kim says:

    the teens I’ve been around without social media, are well educated, adjusted and socialize better than the ones hooked on IG. It is more of a lifestyle and they get a view of the world that isn’t staged. They still use the computer(school) for Pete’s sake, but mobiles -no.

    so people can do their thang and Rose can just do hers.

  28. Hmm says:

    The poor child. Rosario is a weirdo bernie bro.