family

Old-fashioned Geek Parents

What Steve Jobs, Evan Williams and Chris Anderson say about children and technology.

In Silicon Valley, the parents who spend their days creating tablets, iPhone  applications  and video games barely allow their children to touch a smartphone. That is what an article in the New York Times reveals.

Steve Jobs himself was very strict about the matter. Journalist Nick Bilton said that in 2010 he asked the founder of Apple whether his children liked the iPad. Steve Jobs replied that they had never used one. “At home, we limit the use of technological gadgets.”

In the family of Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, the children have no tablet and are encouraged to read books (printed on paper).

Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired, a magazine specializing in technological innovation, has one essential rule for his 5 children (aged 6 to 17) : No screen in the room. “I have witnessed the dangers of technology. I also had my own bad experience, and I don’t want it to affect my children.”

Most of the geek parents limit the time spent on tablets and smartphones to about 30 minutes per day during the week, others allow the use of tablets only on the week-ends. From 10 years old onward, the children use computers, but only to do their homework.

This mistrust is also manifested in their choice of school. Many directors and workers of Google, Yahoo, Apple and  EBay send their children to “Waldorf Institutions”, whose philosophy states that computers harm  the creativity, sociability and concentration of the children; from nursery to high school, neither computer nor tablet. Instead we find blackboards, chalks, crayons and books.