If you’re ever considering becoming more lenient, or feeling like giving in because your kids’ friends have phones and iPads, […]
If you’re ever considering becoming more lenient, or feeling like giving in because your kids’ friends have phones and iPads, it’s important to remember that many tech gurus, including Bill Gate and the late Steve Jobs, fully knew the power of the devices they created — and made sure their kids didn’t get too much exposure too soon.
In 2010, New York Times reporter Nick Bilton asked Apple founder Steve Jobs how his kids like the new iPads. He was shocked when Jobs replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
Microsoft billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates took the same path as Jobs. Their three kids, Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe, didn’t get smart phones until they turned 14, even though the current average age of kids getting their first smart phone has dropped to 10. The pair also had two other strict rules for their kids: no screens at the dinner table and no screens in their bedrooms.
Evan Williams, who helped found social sites like Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, told the New York Times that he and his wife have swapped out iPads for hundreds of books instead.
It’s extremely telling that the men and women who create our phones, tablets, and computers — as well as the people who create our social platforms and apps — know both the power and danger that these pieces of software and hardware can have over our kids.
Specifically, screen time can not only lead to sedentary kids who lack imagination and problem-solving skills, it can also greatly increase their chances of depression, disrupt their sleep, and increase stress.
Of course, as Gates said, technology has an important place in our lives and our kids schools, as long as it’s used carefully, such as for education or to keep in touch with loved ones.
But research shows that delaying tech use in kids can help their grades, their sleep, and their overall happiness — and the men and women who create the screens agree. It should be a big hint to parents, who can get proactive by making rules about time limits, app access, and scree-free areas.