It’s not a stretch to assume that Steve Jobs, dubbed, “the master evangelist of the digital age” tossed technology at his kids like candy falling out of a pinata. However, this assumption would be wrong. Jobs did not adhere to an “apple” a day for his kids — not even close. In an interview with journalist Nick Bilton, when asked what his kids thought of the iPad, Jobs replied, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” This Jobs revelation, while refreshing, is not uncommon among technology chief executives and venture capitalists writes Bilton, noting that these individuals are more likely to strictly limit kid screen time than your typical parent. If major tech CEOs are advocates of limiting or not even allowing screen time for their kids, as opposed to immersing them in the digital age culture, all parents would be wise to heed their warnings and advice. As Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, tells Bilton, he and his wife have instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home, because “we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
Excessive screen time can result in many problems, including exposure to harmful content like pornography and cyber bullying. When you add in stuff like screen addiction, lack of outside time and the growing e-waste issue it all adds up to a perfect storm of social, environmental and educational problems. It makes sense that the folks most directly involved with technology might be extra savvy about these issues, thus keeping their own kids away from their products, even as they attempt to sell other parents on their gadgets. So what’s a screen-tired parent to do? Well, as we here at Inhabitots advocate, parents should limit screen time extensively for young kids and older kids too, as applicable, plus get kids outside and active whenever possible. Other tips gleamed from those working in technology via Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent, include:
- No screens in the bedroom ever.
- Always use parental controls.
- Keep plenty of books in the house – and other screen-free activities.
- Only allow gadgets on weekends.
- Limit kids and teens access to social networks.