Goldie Hawn has urged the mothers of today to ''put your phone down'' and ''look at the eyes of your child''.

The 72-year-old actress believes there's ''almost an epidemic'' of mental illness in young people because of social media, and she feels that smartphones are ''stealing intimacy'' between parents and their children.

Goldie told CNBC: ''You have to get offline. And that means that mommy, you have to put your phone down. You have to look at the eyes of your child when they talk to you, they have to have your full attention.

''You can't be on your phone all the time, because that's what they see. It's about engagement - it's stealing your intimacy.''

'The First Wives Club' actress has three children, actress Kate Hudson and actors Oliver Hudson and Wyatt Russell, as well as five grandchildren.

Goldie set up The Hawn Foundation in 2003 - which has produced MindUP, a teaching and learning programme for children to help with mindfulness and emotional learning - and she thinks social media is to blame for some of the problems.

She explained: ''We have a serious problem of mental illness today, it's almost an epidemic - we have to really look at it, and not be afraid to look at it, in order to mitigate some of these problems and create a stronger emotional stability. Yes, there's going to be mental illness, but not where it is today.''

Speaking specifically about the impact of social media, the actress added: ''Social media has a tremendous amount to do with aspects of our mind, and keep in mind that the brain itself does not finish growing till you're 24 years old.

''If you have the intention that you want your children to have a healthy mind, and not give them more than they can handle, then you have to be really vigilant on how you allow them to be online, that's number one.''