This article from the New York Times flew around Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites earlier this fall. The content was astounding to many: Steve Jobs did not allow his children to use iPads! How could this be? The mastermind behind the greatest technology company in history did not allow his own children to use his devices? Nope. Never. In Steve Jobs’ words, “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” This is a fascinating concept as the man’s empire was built around inspiring others to wire themselves to technology.
As it turns out, there are many tech giants by day who are low-tech parents by nights and weekends. Chris Anderson, chief executive for 3D Robotics says “We have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it myself and I don’t want it to happen to my kids.” He is of course referring to children being able to access information that is not appropriate, exposure to online bullying and potential addiction to technological devices (to which children under age ten are highly susceptible per the article).
So what do the technology industry master minds expect their children to do instead of play on devices? One tech leader says he and his wife provide their children with an endless supply of books (real ones) and Steve Jobs expects his children to engage in family conversations at dinner.
But what is the flip-side of this technology drought for children? Other parents in the tech field say too many restrictions on technology could be detrimental to children as well. As with many things, the solution may lie in the gray–somewhere between no exposure and unlimited exposure to technology.
As parents and teachers, we have the daily opportunity to make decisions similar to or contradictory of Mr. Jobs’ decision for his children. What do you think? Do you support unlimited use of technology? Do you prohibit its use in your home or classroom? Or have you managed to find a solution that allows for a little of both? Share your thoughts with us!
|Authored by Jordan Khadam-Hir, Rice University School Literacy and Culture|