Technology has made Bill Gates the richest man in the world, but the Microsoft founder didn’t allow his own children unlimited access to mobile phones, tablets or computers when they were young. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers, had the same philosophy of life.
In an interview with The Mirror, Bill explained how he and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Melinda, didn’t buy their three daughters mobile phones until they were 14 and didn’t were ever allowed to sit at the table with their eyes on a screen.
“We always set a time after which they were no longer allowed to use any device with a screen, and this helped them fall asleep better and easier at night,” Gates revealed to the British publication a few years ago. “We’re trying to see how technology can be useful to us – for homework and to keep in touch with friends – and to discover when it becomes excessive,” he explained.
And Steve Jobs also imposed limits on his children when it came to the use of gadgets. After the launch of the iPad, the founder of Apple Computers was asked by journalist Nick Biton, from the New York Times, if his children also liked it, and his answer amazed the whole world.
“They haven’t used the iPad yet. We limit children’s access to technology,” said Jobs. And he and Gates were not the only famous parents, very successful in this field, who did not want the products launched by them to be available to their children all the time.
“The kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists about their access to technology and claim that their friends don’t have such rules at their house,” said Chris Anderson, founder of Wired. “Our two boys, on the other hand, always have books at their disposal – yes, physical books! – which I can read at any time,” he added.
What are these parents afraid of? Cyberbullying, exposing children to content inappropriate for their age and creating an addiction to screens, which would physically distance them from their children’s friends.
Here are the rules that today’s tech geniuses instilled in their homes when their children were young:
no mobile phone until the age of 14
no devices during family dinner
establishing a daily time – long before bedtime – from which children no longer have access to screens
establishing a strict schedule for the use of tablets, telephones or computers during the school week
limiting access to social networks
banning screens in children’s bedrooms
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