Nick Bilton’s recent New York Times article (9/10/14 “Steve Jobs Was A Low-Tech Parent”) makes the interesting case that many parents who work in the high-tech industry limit their children’s access to technology.
Jobs’ own children hadn’t even seen the first iPad when it hit the shelves, and Jobs made it clear to the author, when he worked at Apple, that his home was far from a nerd’s paradise. Other tech industry parents seem to be following the model of not permitting access to online devices during the week and strictly limiting it on weekends, unlike many parents in the public at large.
Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now CEO of 3D Robotics, is quoted in the article, “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules. That’s 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.”
Other parents in the high-tech industry observe similar guidelines, states the Mr. Bilton.
Under the age of 10, children seem to have the greatest propensity to acquire technology addiction, so these parents (and some enlightened others) are prohibiting access to gadgets to these children during the school week. On weekends, there are clear time limits to iPad and cell phone usage. These parents frequently allow computers only for home work on school nights for children ages 10-14. Efforts are made to limit social media usage to apps like Snapchat, which deletes messages after they have been sent.
Our own children were never permitted a television in their rooms, and I would strongly urge parents who seek to inculcate the habit of reading in their children to follow this prohibition. There are few children who will read when there is a tv in the room. Computer games were also limited. I often attributed youthful surliness to an excess of “square box usage” (as I used to say) and would impose added limits as needed.
At the same time, too much prohibition can lead to infatuation once the limits are lifted (in college), so a reasonable balance needs to be found by parents.
Walter Isaacson, the author of “Steve Jobs” when asked by Mr. Bilton about gadget usage in the Jobs home, said, “Every evening, Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen discussing books, history, a variety of things. No one ever pulled out an iPad or a computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
Sarah C. Reese
Informed Educational Solutions