Champion Golfer, Pundit, and Mother | Debbie Doniger on Why She Won’t Give Her Daughter Snapchat


Please give us some background on yourself.

I’m in my 40’s and am a professional golfer. I played on the European Tour and have been teaching for over 25 years. I’m also a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, a Golf Digest ranked teacher number five in New York, ACC Hall of Fame… Throwing it a bit further back, I played for UNC and am currently Sirius radio host!

Raising kids in the digital age, do you think you have it harder than your parents did?

Yes, kids are exposed to way more much earlier and can get sucked into the digital life foregoing playing outside or simply being a kid.

How do you interact with your kids online?

I may “like” a private Instagram post and I text them. Nothing too intrusive.

What are your go-to strategies for limiting your kids’ tech usage? Why won’t you give your daughter Snapchat?

We use a time limit on their social media and have the ability to shut it off if need be, rarely are they allowed to use their phone if homework or ancillary work is not finished. They know my husband and I feel it is a waste of time, so they are aware we don’t approve of a ton of time on their devices. My daughter, Nili, cannot have Snapchat, it’s another distraction, another “time suck,” another piece of media that she does not need. She may want it because her friends have it and they text via Snap, but the answer is still a resounding “no.”

mother and child wellness

We noticed on your Instagram page, that you posted a video of spoken word artist, Prince Ea, on the dangerous power that social media “influencers” yield. What do other parents need to know about these influencers and why is it important?

I am surrounded by “influencers” in my career: younger, less experienced people who are heavily touted as “worth” it because they are influencers. The fact is, they have likes and followers (maybe bought), but simply do not have the stats or data to empirically be the impetus for change on a grassroots level, nor to be the positive drive to be a better person — aiming higher, going further than yesterday, giving back. So I teach my kids that very few are actually being the best version of themselves. Because those “who are living their best life” do not have to use selfies on social media to promote it. They are behind the scenes, creating, doing, thinking, reading etc. Social media is all a “show” and should be viewed as such. Unfortunately, though, within our society now, sometimes the show is praised monetarily and it’s a vicious cycle.

Do you think “digital addiction” is a real problem facing our society today? Is it only among the younger generations or far more widespread?

I don’t have an addictive personality per se, so I cannot speak to that side of the equation with any truth. I don’t know if there have been true studies showing depression, envy, etc. as more widespread in our culture because of social media. Penn State did a small study that revealed traits of depression and anxiety. I do think it has become a place for people to “air” or share their grievances, a place that has become vitriolic in some sense and maybe has polarized the nation more than it already has been for the last ten years. But it also is a medium where people are trying to instruct, entertain, educate, share etc. and so easily consumed that the latter can be an absolute positive.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Just stay strong and keep saying “No.” Not one parent or teacher has said to me, “Just let her have Snapchat.” Every single parent has said, “I wish we did that.” And, hopefully, your partner agrees because two heads are stronger than that one cute peanut in your household.

You can find Debbie on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website for further insight into her life!

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