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Actress Jennifer Garner became a rom-com queen when she took the leading role in 13 Going on 30. But the Hollywood star is doing her best to ensure that her three children don’t make such a giant leap before their time. And it’s unlikely that her eldest Violet will thank her just yet for one particular ban that her celebrity mother has enforced.

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Violet was born in Los Angeles in December 2005 to two bona fide A-listers, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. The celebrity pairing had married just six months earlier at an intimate ceremony in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Garner, for her part, had previously been wed for three years to her one time Felicity co-star Scott Foley.

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Garner recalled the moment she realized she was pregnant with Violet in a 2018 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. And it turns out that her female intuition is incredibly strong. Her doctor had previously informed her that she wasn’t with child; yet on one particular morning Garner woke up just knowing that she’d soon be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

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Affleck and Garner waited more than three years to add to their family unit. Then, in January 2009 the couple welcomed daughter Seraphina Rose Elizabeth into the world. Their second child picked up a Teen Choice Award nomination before she’d even learned to walk; though she lost out to Cash Warren and Jessica Alba’s tot in the Choice Celebrity Baby category.

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In 2012 Garner gave birth to her and Affleck’s third child, Samuel. Sadly, just three years later the Hollywood pairing revealed that they were going their separate ways. The couple finalized their divorce in 2018 – having also agreed to share both legal and physical custody of their three young kids.

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Thankfully, the pair appear to have sorted things out amicably for the sake of their offspring. Just a few months on from their official split, an unnamed source told Entertainment Tonight, “[Affleck] and [Garner] have been dedicated to making sure their divorce doesn’t affect their kids. They want to keep the communication healthy so that they can make decisions together in the best interest of their children.”

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The source continued, “It’s been wonderful for [Garner] that [Affleck] has been so present and involved. She wants to do this right and everyone is so incredibly proud of her for rising above the past and putting the kids first.” And Garner herself has been more than happy to discuss the topic of adapting, too.

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In February 2019 Garner penned a piece for the Women’s Style Issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine in which she opened up about the major changes in her life. She began, “When I had kids, I started considering how jobs worked for my family. How much am I going to ask of my partner and kids? What’s worth it and what isn’t?”

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“Something [Affleck] and I used to say to each other all the time is, ‘We have to adapt,’” continued Garner. The actress also revealed how the couple used to cope being hounded by photographers, adding, “There were so many things you wouldn’t expect. We’d be left alone more at Disneyland than we would at a park in Santa Monica. But if you love something, you’ll do whatever you need to do.”

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Garner had also discussed the issue of becoming a single parent in the wake of her and Affleck’s separation. In a 2016 chat with Vanity Fair, she revealed that she’d become “temporary roommates” with her oldest daughter Violet as a means of comforting each other. She said, “I’m happy to have her; she’s happy to have me.”

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And with her split from Affleck a regular subject of Hollywood gossip, Garner also admitted that she “had to have conversations about the meaning of ‘scandal’” with her three kids. She added, “I cannot be driven by the optics of this. I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost.”

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Garner then discussed how her own upbringing had informed her parenting techniques. The actress has two sisters and grew up with her chemical engineer father William John and English teacher mother Patricia Ann in West Virginia. She told Vanity Fair, “I wasn’t raised in a household where vanity was celebrated. That just wasn’t on the top of our list.”

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But unfortunately for Garner, she hasn’t been able to influence her three kids to pursue one of her main passions. After revealing that she used to dance for six hours every day as a youngster, Garner joked, “My cross to bear is that my children have no interest in ballet. I think they could smell how much I wanted to put their hair in a bun.”

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Garner also discussed how disappointed she was to lose the dream of dancing with Affleck at one of her children’s weddings. However, she remains upbeat about their situation, adding, “It’s not [Affleck’s] job to make me happy. The main thing is these kids and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them.”

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Garner may no longer be married to Affleck, but she still recognizes the positive effect he has on their three kids. She added, “… You should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person.”

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Of course, things got tougher for Garner when her ex-husband underwent a third stint in rehab. A close insider revealed to Heat magazine in August 2018, “[Garner] is all about their family, and she doesn’t want to see [Affleck] as an enemy, or for their kids to grow up resenting him. She had promised the kids that she’s going to get daddy back to the supportive family man that they all know and love.”

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Following Affleck’s 40 days of treatment at the facility, he took to Instagram to express how much he wants to get better for the sake of his kids. He wrote, “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”

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In March 2019 Affleck sang Garner’s praises during an interview on The Today Show. The actor said, “Somebody’s the mother of your kids, they’re going to be the most important, central person in your life, and that’s good. I’m lucky they’ve got a great mom, and she helps out a great deal with making sure that we co-parent in as good a way as possible.”

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Affleck also addressed his own involvement in bringing up Violet, Seraphina and Samuel. He said, “I hope I’m a pretty good dad. I certainly try very hard. Dads are so important to kids and it’s our responsibility to be there for them, to be present, to be mindful, to be attentive, to be part of their lives… to be as in it as moms.”

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Garner and Affleck may appear to be two of Hollywood’s most amicable divorced couples; but they’re not exactly the coolest. Well, that’s according to son Samuel anyway. In February 2019 Garner dressed up as Viking Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon for her son’s seventh birthday party. And it’s fair to say that her efforts weren’t particularly appreciated.

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Alongside a photo of herself in said costume, Garner wrote on Instagram, “Well, guess what. It turns out seven is the age my kid stops thinking it’s cool when I dress up for the party.” Affleck also later revealed that his ex-wife was left devastated by Samuel’s reaction during a chat with Entertainment Tonight. He admitted, “We’re just not that cool.”

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Garner then echoed Affleck’s sentiments about their kids when she appeared on The Tonight Show in September 2019. The actress told host Jimmy Fallon that she has no qualms about being a killjoy when it comes to her three kids. She said, “If you’re like me, I kill the fun. I am so lame. I say no to everything. They call me the dragon. They have all these names for me.”

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Of course, with Violet now a teenager, Garner is having to be more observant about her kids’ behavior than ever before. The actress told People that her eldest has discovered the benefits of makeup and is testing the limits of just how much she can use. Garner explained, “[It’s] a process.”

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However, Garner did acknowledge that Violet was respectful of the boundaries. She told People magazine that her first-born is “really smart about, ‘Okay, now I’m leaving the house, now I need to check with my mom because chances are she’s gonna make me take this lip off. Which I do.”

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Of course, it’s not just Violet’s makeup that Garner has been monitoring since she became a teenager. The actress is determined to see her eldest enjoy a life away from the social media spotlight. So she’s placed a very specific – and perhaps very unpopular – ban to ensure that this happens.

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During an appearance on the podcast Next Question with Katie Couric, Garner revealed that she isn’t allowing Violet to have her own Instagram account. She explained, “Without even having parents who are well-known, I worry about all kids having to deal with this new pressure. My daughter’s at an all-girl school and it’s such a huge problem.”

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Garner admitted, however, that she’s a little hypocritical when it comes to the issue of social media. She revealed, “She’ll occasionally talk to me about getting Instagram and I can see why. Because I’m on there and it’s something kind of fun that I do, and I am modeling the opposite of what I want for her to do. How often is that in parenting?”

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Unfortunately for Violet, Garner seems unlikely to budge on the issue any time soon. Well, not unless the teenager is prepared to do a whole lot of research first. The star told Couric, “I just say, when you can show me studies that say that teenage girls are happier using Instagram than not, then we can have the conversation.”

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It seems unlikely that Violet will be able to find much evidence to help her cause. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that teens who spend more than three hours per day on the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are more likely to experience mental health issues. Elsewhere, a University College London study also found that girls are far more likely to be cyberbullied than boys.

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On Couric’s podcast, Garner said she told Violet, “Everything you look at, I don’t see anything positive for you out there. You can look at mine when you want to, we can go over it together, but I just don’t see it.” Of course, Garner is more than happy to include her three kids when it comes to posting her own Instagram content.

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Shortly before her appearance on Next Question with Katie Couric, Garner shared a clip of her singing along to The Sound of Music on the social media platform. The actress was getting into the spirit at a special screening of the 1960s classic at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. And the videographer capturing her for posterity was in fact one of her three kids.

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But although Garner is happy for her children to help out behind the camera, she doesn’t want them to be in front of it. She told Couric that she’s decided against posting pictures of her kids on her various social media accounts in a bid to protect their privacy. However, she admitted, “It kills me, because of course I want to share them.”

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However, Garner was keen to point out that she doesn’t disapprove of other celebrity parents sharing pictures of their offspring. Speaking about her own kids, she said, “I’m so proud of them, and I think they’re really funny and cute. The real thing is that there is no judgment in what other people do. It is such a personal choice.”

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Garner also discussed the impact that the paparazzi had had on her family life. She told Couric, “We really were hunted for so long, and I am not a whiny ‘wah wah’ person who put myself out in public and then said, ‘Why are you taking pictures of me?’ But it was so out of control, and it really marked my children’s experience out in the world, and it shaped who they became in certain ways.”

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So why did Garner join Instagram herself in the first place? Well, she told Couric that she initially signed up to promote her organic baby food firm Once Upon a Farm. Garner clarified, “It was very much part of the deal and I did it kicking and screaming, but that’s how much I wanted to be involved with this company.”

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Garner revealed that she was initially offered the skills of a social media team to help out with her content – but this approach wasn’t for her. She told Couric, “I have to be able to do this my way. I went out there and did what felt right for me.”

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Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Garner had expressed her concerns about her kids and social media. In a 2018 interview with Fox News, she revealed, “My kids don’t have any social media yet. And I am terrified. I think it puts so, so much pressure on kids at an age when they’re really vulnerable anyway. You know, if anyone has any clues, let me know.”

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Garner isn’t the only A-lister who worries about the negative impact that technology can have on their kids, however. Jennifer Lopez only allows her children to fully immerse themselves in their phones and iPads on “Sunday Funday.” Her little ones have a blanket ban on all of their devices during the week and are only allowed to use them at the weekend if they’ve behaved well and worked hard.

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Elsewhere, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were so concerned about what their kids got up to online that they appointed their own web security team to keep tabs. Megan Fox, meanwhile, also agrees with Garner that sites such as Instagram can have a damaging effect on impressionable young minds. The Transformers star has also banned her three kids from using any kind of social network.

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Even Kourtney Kardashian, who has undoubtedly utilized Instagram to become one of the biggest celebrities on social media, has rules when it comes to tech. The reality star restricts her kids from any phone usage in bed. Instead, she encourages them to watch skyline projections on their bedroom ceilings while she reads them stories.

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