Mark Lawrenson says Dan Walker was ‘fired’
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Dan Walker, 45, might be a TV star, but he says his kids are “behind their friends” when it comes to accessing media on their phones. The BBC Breakfast turned Channel 5 News presenter has even forced the youngsters to sign strict contracts governing the use of their devices.
The presenter has also lamented the “toxic landscape” that he feels his children live in due to social media.
He has two daughters, Susanna and Jessica, and a son, Joe – and all three are aged between 11 and 15.
Dan only began giving them phones of their own for safety when they started walking home from secondary school by themselves – and he has warned them that smartphone use is a privilege which he is willing to withdraw.
His motto when it comes to the kids’ contracts is: “You lose it if you abuse it”.
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“There are things we expect from you in terms of what you do with [your phone] and how you use it,” Dan explained as he recounted the conversation he’s had with his trio.
“If you cross the line, we will take it away for a period,” he added to The Times.
Deeply religious Dan has also forbidden the children from using their phones upstairs, where he will be unable to supervise them.
He insists that the devices are left downstairs charging overnight.
Dan added that he is all too aware of the problems that social media can cause, after being hit with a flurry of threats in the past from trolls.
“I often get threats of violence on social media… I have a family to protect and look after and I take their safety more seriously than I take my own,” he explained.
He has also been deeply affected by the death of schoolgirl Mollie Russell, whose father believes social media content “glorifying” suicide played a role in her death.
In Dan’s latest book, Standing on the Shoulder: Incredible Heroes and How They Inspire Us, he shared the stories of three families who lost kids to suicide.
“It’s a subject I often think about with my own children,” he wrote.
“How do we best arm our kids to deal with the toxic landscape they sometimes have to live in?”
Dan has suggested that schools offer “suicide prevention lessons” to youngsters to prevent tragedies like Mollie Russell’s death from reoccurring.
His book, which addresses the topic in detail, will be released tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Dan admits he was so concerned by one threat he received on social media, that he felt obliged to report it to police.
The Channel 5 host has also been targeted over his religious views, including his insistence that it is “going against God’s plan” for football matches to be played on Sundays.
Dan suggested that people resented him for getting sports presenting gigs despite his strong views on the scheduling of games, and his refusal to work on Sundays.
“When I [got] jobs, some people resented me because they couldn’t work me out. They’d think, ‘How did you get that being like you are?’” he previously told The Times.
The devout Christian also admitted that in his childhood years, he feared the prospect of “going to Hell” and would lie awake at night worrying over his past behaviour.
If you have been experiencing troubles on social media, or have been touched by issues of suicide, contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123.
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