Kate Winslet has said having her daughter at a young age “saved” her from being consumed by what was being written about her in the press at the beginning of her career.
The Oscar-winning actress, 47, is starring opposite her 22-year-old daughter, Mia Threapleton, in Channel 4 film I Am Ruth, about a mother who sees her daughter becoming overwhelmed by the pressures of social media.
Speaking during a Q&A with the Royal Television Society, Winslet said getting rid of things connected to the online world may be the only way to protect children from hurtful or inappropriate content.
Reflecting on the intensity of press attention from an early age, she said: “I on occasion think back to that time in my early 20s that, mercifully for Mia, she is never going to experience because it just isn’t allowed in the same way any more.
“Because if mainstream media do that to a young actress or a young person in the public eye they are immediately rapped over the knuckles for it in a very, very big way.
“But of course, in those days that wasn’t the case. One publication would do it and then it would have a knock-on effect and another would rip off that story and it would just kind of keep going.
“Where I was extremely lucky, and I have to say probably saved, was I had Mia when I was really very young.
“So when you have a child that is the only thing in your world that matters and you are able to look at the silly things and just say, ‘Well, I am not just going to read it and I am going to switch it off’.
“Today however, the negative online comments, those things that exist, that as (director) Dominic Savage points out, we don’t know as parents what those things are, what can our children see, what are they being subjected to.”
— Royal Television Society (@RTS_media) February 28, 2023
She said she had been playing an “innocent word game” with her nine-year-old son Bear which was interrupted by an inappropriate pop-up from a dating site despite her turning off all the settings.
“So there are moments as a parent where you think, ‘My God, it doesn’t matter how much I think I have got a handle on this, we just don’t’,” she added.
“The only way to save our kids – honestly, and I do see it as saving sometimes – is to just not have any of these things, just get rid of them completely, because what else are we supposed to do.”
Winslet has three children – Mia from her first marriage to director Jim Threapleton, son Joe from her marriage to director Sam Mendes, and Bear from her third marriage to Edward Abel Smith.
I Am Ruth is an instalment of the Bafta-nominated and female-led drama anthology series I Am, created by filmmaker Dominic Savage.
The storyline for the two-hour programme, which looks at the mental health crisis affecting young people in the UK, was developed and co-authored by Winslet and Savage.