Barack and Michelle Obama might be America’s premiere couple — but they are also hands-on parents to two teenage daughters. In a revealing new interview, the President and his wife have opened up on raising a family in the White House, touching on subjects including social media and sleep-overs.
“I still am not a big believer in Facebook for young people… particularly for them, because they are in the public eye,” Michelle told ABC News‘ Barbara Walters of Malia, 15, and 12-year-old Sasha.
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“Some of its stuff, they don’t need to see and be a part of… So we try to protect them from too much of the public voice.”
Sasha isn’t yet old enough to have a Facebook account, and Malia is given limited access to sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But, while they are restricted in their use of social media, the girls are able to enjoy some semblance of normality.
Malia — a high school sophomore — is allowed to date, and both she and her younger sister frequently host sleepovers on the third floor of the White House.
The couple’s eldest child is looking forward to stepping out of the spotlight when her father leaves his post as commander-in-chief in 2016, though. “(She) can’t wait until this light has dimmed to start becoming a person,” the First Lady said.
“You know, we think about not just her life here, but her life after. Because she’s gotta be an independent, strong, smart, capable woman in the world. So she has to get her training now.”
With that in mind, Michelle said that the White House has become a “sanctuary” for the family.
“The girls are there and they dominate,” she said. “They’re not talking about issues of the day, they’re talking about issues of their day, which has nothing to do with that is going on in the rest of the world.
“Everyone has to have their safe haven, a place of peace and calm: that’s home for us,” she said, admitting that she “tries to stay out” of the President’s ear when he is at home. “He has enough people in his ear,” she said.