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If you were asked to picture the lives of Bill Gates' three kids, You would be picturing a house brimming with the latest gadgets, kids having unlimited access to the newest tech toys and phones. Shockingly, you are wrong.
Bill Gates, technology giant and co-founder of Microsoft, had pretty surprising technology restrictions for his kids. Gates and his wife Melinda banned their three children from owning cell phones until they were age 14, forbids them at the dinner table and limits his youngest’s screen time before she goes to bed.
Father to Jennifer, 20, Rory, 17, and Phoebe, 14, he admits: “We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.We also set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour.”
Despite the irony of Gates playing a pivotal role in the technological revolution of the digital age, he still thinks limits need to be in place for children.
“You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way – homework and staying in touch with friends – and also where it has gotten to excess,’ he said of smartphones and social media.
Surprisingly, Gates isn't the only IT mogul to limit his children's technology usage. In a 2014 article titled "Steve Jobs, one of the greatest innovators and founder of Apple told a New York Times reporter that his children had not yet used the iPad, and that, "We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
Walter Isaacson, who wrote the biography Steve Jobs, backed this up when describing the Jobs family’s evening meals. “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said.
“No one ever pulled out an iPad or a computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
Chris Anderson, the former editor of WIRED, enforced strict time limits on every device in his home, “because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand.” His five children were never allowed to use screens in their bedrooms. Evan Williams, a founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, bought hundreds of books for his two young sons, but refused to give them an iPad
According to recent news articles many of the world’s greatest public technocrats are implementing technology restrictions for their kids.
What about your family? Have you set any limitations for screen time in your family?
Picture Courtesy: Starchase