Author Topic: Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent  (Read 649 times)

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Offline Catholic Samurai

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Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent
« on: July 11, 2015, 04:42:06 PM »
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  • New York Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/steve-jobs-apple-was-a-low-tech-parent.html?_r=0

    When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he was known to call journalists to either pat them on the back for a recent article or, more often than not, explain how they got it wrong. I was on the receiving end of a few of those calls. But nothing shocked me more than something Mr. Jobs said to me in late 2010 after he had finished chewing me out for something I had written about an iPad shortcoming.

    “So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

    I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.

    Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.
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    Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.

    I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.

    Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.

    Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. “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,” he said of his five children, 6 to 17. “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.”


    The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all, becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents.

    Alex Constantinople, the chief executive of the OutCast Agency, a tech-focused communications and marketing firm, said her youngest son, who is 5, is never allowed to use gadgets during the week, and her older children, 10 to 13, are allowed only 30 minutes a day on school nights.

    Evan Williams, a founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium, and his wife, Sara Williams, said that in lieu of iPads, their two young boys have hundreds of books (yes, physical ones) that they can pick up and read anytime.

    So how do tech moms and dads determine the proper boundary for their children? In general, it is set by age.

    Children under 10 seem to be most susceptible to becoming addicted, so these parents draw the line at not allowing any gadgets during the week. On weekends, there are limits of 30 minutes to two hours on iPad and smartphone use. And 10- to 14-year-olds are allowed to use computers on school nights, but only for homework.

    “We have a strict no screen time during the week rule for our kids,” said Lesley Gold, founder and chief executive of the SutherlandGold Group, a tech media relations and analytics company. “But you have to make allowances as they get older and need a computer for school.”

    Some parents also forbid teenagers from using social networks, except for services like Snapchat, which deletes messages after they have been sent. This way they don’t have to worry about saying something online that will haunt them later in life, one executive told me.

    Although some non-tech parents I know give smartphones to children as young as 8, many who work in tech wait until their child is 14. While these teenagers can make calls and text, they are not given a data plan until 16. But there is one rule that is universal among the tech parents I polled.


    “This is rule No. 1: There are no screens in the bedroom. Period. Ever,” Mr. Anderson said.

    While some tech parents assign limits based on time, others are much stricter about what their children are allowed to do with screens.

    Ali Partovi, a founder of iLike and adviser to Facebook, Dropbox and Zappos, said there should be a strong distinction between time spent “consuming,” like watching YouTube or playing video games, and time spent “creating” on screens.

    “Just as I wouldn’t dream of limiting how much time a kid can spend with her paintbrushes, or playing her piano, or writing, I think it’s absurd to limit her time spent creating computer art, editing video, or computer programming,” he said.

    Others said that outright bans could backfire and create a digital monster.

    Dick Costolo, chief executive of Twitter, told me he and his wife approved of unlimited gadget use as long as their two teenage children were in the living room. They believe that too many time limits could have adverse effects on their children.

    “When I was at the University of Michigan, there was this guy who lived in the dorm next to me and he had cases and cases of Coca-Cola and other sodas in his room,” Mr. Costolo said. “I later found out that it was because his parents had never let him have soda when he was growing up. If you don’t let your kids have some exposure to this stuff, what problems does it cause later?”

    I never asked Mr. Jobs what his children did instead of using the gadgets he built, so I reached out to Walter Isaacson, the author of “Steve Jobs,” who spent a lot of time at their home.

    “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 computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
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    Offline Disputaciones

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    Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent
    « Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 12:14:36 PM »
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  • Those don't seem like good enough reasons for such restriction. I would think maybe it has to do more with radiation.


    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent
    « Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 07:08:11 PM »
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  • Quote from: Disputaciones (Jul 12, 2015, 1:14 pm)
    Those don't seem like good enough reasons for such restriction.

    Have you ever seen preädolescent kids addicted to games like Minecraft, on their own tablet-computers?   With enough observations (e.g.: as a neighbor or local family member) to be certain that the episodes you observed weren't anomalies?

    Even at neighborhood or family gatherings, the duo I've observed won't take even a few seconds away from their game sessions for a minimalist "hello" of courteous acknowledgement: They're in their own nonsocial universe, it being only physically less of a disconnection than in the Kryptonian "Phantom Zone" of the classic Superman comics.

    Elroy Jetson famously had a tablet-computer, so what would his father George Jetson do?   Alas, limited to 21st-century technology as we are, isn't it true that under some circumstances, if consultation about such an obsession with an M.D. or Ph.D. yields an "autism" diagnosis, it risks persistent medication with mind-altering prescription drugs?  That coïnciding with years of what I assume are considered a child's most important for physical & mental development.

    I don't know how "Asperger Syndrome" is treated, but I've gotten the impression that it's akin to a fall-back diagnosis (and a fall-back opportunity to prescribe medication?).  Ah!   I see in a source that I can't trust about religion:
    Quote from: Wikipedia (Asperger_Syndrome)
    The diagnosis of Asperger's was eliminated in the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and replaced by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale.

    I am a sceptic of both, um, innovative diagnoses.

     

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