Your new movie Men, Women & Children is about the effects the Internet has on relationships. What’s the biggest one you’ve noticed?
People having a conversation, but holding phones in their hands and looking down and typing as they do it. I’m guilty of it, so I have no judgment.
Have you figured out your Internet policies as a family?
I have nothing figured out yet, but I know that I like rules. I’ll probably watch how strict the other moms are and try to be one notch more strict. But then again, my husband [Ben Affleck] is much more connected than I am, and he may feel differently. It’s definitely a team sport, parenting.
Easy access to pornography is another issue in this movie. Do you have a position on it?
I’m sure that pornography is fine for consenting adults. Maybe it’s dehumanizing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place among adults who are aware of what they’re doing. The problem is when kids happen upon it by accident and that becomes their reference for sex.
Have you given any thought to how you’ll teach your kids [who are 8, 5 and 2] about sex?
I’ve given it a lot of thought, especially for my daughters. I’ve gone to hear specialists talk. I’ve read books. It doesn’t mean that I have anything more figured out than anyone else. I want them to see sex as something joyful, as a gift, as a celebration of love and of their bodies. And it makes me feel really cool and hippieish to think of it that way.
Did you ever get “the talk” as a kid?
I have the best parents in the world, but no. We’ve still never addressed it. I’m waiting for the talk, Mom, Dad!
Have you ever used the Internet to not be Jennifer Garner?
I’ve taken classes online, and one of them was this class that Nick Kristof taught when Half the Sky was coming out. And I was very involved in the class discussions and in the comments, but not as myself. I really enjoyed that.
You donated to the gubernatorial campaign of Wendy Davis in Texas. How interested are you in politics?
My interest is becoming more specific–less about the party, more about if you are a candidate who supports early childhood education. This is connected to my work with Save the Children, which is entering the political realm a little bit. We’ve been raising money, and we’re going to use it to try to influence a couple of campaigns. There is no NRA for kids, no AARP for kids.
You often play disciplined, almost uptight people. Are you like that in real life?
I am disciplined when I need to be. I’m disciplined about motherhood. I still work out at 5:30 a.m. almost every day. But I’m also a total flake. I’m in charge of a kindergarten coffee next week, and I forgot to write down what everyone was supposed to bring.
Ben’s new film Gone Girl came out the same day yours did. Is there a contest on which will make more money?
I am not anticipating Men, Women & Children taking Gone Girl. But it would feel great someday to spank him at the box office.
Your dogs are called Martha Stewart and Gandhi. How did you arrive at those names?
Gandhi is my husband’s dog. I named my dog Martha Stewart because at the time–Martha’s 11–that cooking show was my religion. I would time my auditions around it. [Eventually] I got on the show. And I’ve made that Thanksgiving turkey every Thanksgiving since, thank you very much.
This appears in the October 20, 2014 issue of TIME.
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