Top Tech Execs Limit Kids’ Screen Time

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates raise concerns on youngters’ use of tech and social media

It’s not hard to imagine the rosy picture of having an ultra-wealthy tech innovator for a parent, but a new report says that life as the offspring of a top technology CEO might not be as glamorous as you might think. In fact, parents like Bill and Melinda Gates or Steve Jobs have displayed some pretty strict rules concerning their own kids’ use of their own products, rules that might seem counter intuitive when it comes to the vision of a landmark technology giant.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has recently caused a stir by admitting that he doesn’t like the idea of children using social media, and that he places ‘boundaries’ on his nephew’s use of it. While according to an article from Business Insider, Bill Gates’ kids couldn’t have cellphones until they were 14, and the family places limits on how much screen time the kids can have per day. Interestingly, the limit also extends to removing the device within a set time before bed, which speaks to the disruption to sleep patterns that exposure to a screen is believed to cause.

There's a growing consensus in Silicon Valley that consumer tech is too addictive, and potentially harmful to young brains.

Consensus growing in Silicon Valley that consumer tech is too addictive, and potentially harmful to young brains.

iPad, what iPad?

Steve Jobs was also famous for setting strict limits on his kids’ tech use, including his own company’s iPad. When it first launched, Jobs reportedly did not bring any of the new devices home for the kids to try out.

Unfortunately, these findings have led to a conspiracy theory-level of backlash from parenting experts and educators: what is so horrible about technology that these gurus are banning or limiting it for their kids? what are they not telling the rest of us?!

Tech addiction

One of the first complaints is the emerging phenomenon of technology addiction, which some groups say is affecting younger and younger users. At the same time, advocates are calling for companies like Apple to “do more” when it comes to keeping kids from becoming screen addicts. Apparently, following the lead of the companies’ executives isn’t enough of a standard for some groups to follow.

Parental control

Rather than forcing Silicon Valley to be the beacon for moderation in kids’ well-being, it’s far more beneficial to look at the bigger parenting picture. Like all things kid-related, from technology to entertainment, to nutrition and more, it’s important that parents exercise some measure of control while also supporting free choice. Parents are ultimately responsible for guiding their young tech addicts towards good decision making while fostering the lifelong adoption of healthy habits.

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