That’s right – this oft-quoted statement used to mock millennials with their faces in their iPhones, was not actually uttered by the greatest mind of all time. Or by anyone, for that matter.
But still, there’s definitely something to the sentiment, especially now we’ve learnt that the greatest tech minds of the last twenty years, Bill Gates (Microsoft co-founder) and Steve Jobs (Apple c0-founder), denied their kids the diet of constant devices that billions of other kids around the world are on.
Which is très annoying to know if you co-parent with iPhones/iPads like I do.
Listen: Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo argue the importance of buying your kids a ‘dumb’ phone, instead of an iPhone. (Post continues after audio…)
Authors Joe Clement and Matt Miles have published a book Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse is Making Our Kids Dumber, pointing out that Gates’ and Jobs’ attitudes to parenting with technology should have been the writing on the wall for all of us as a warning about the dire effects of technological over-exposure on children.
Apparently, as early as 2007, Gates capped screen time when he noticed his daughter becoming attached to a video game. Gates was also strict in his approach to mobile phones, prohibiting them until his kids were fourteen.
Similarly, Jobs told the New York Times in 2011 that he and his wife “limit how much technology our kids use at home,” which was why his own children didn’t use the first iPad when it was released.
It’s not that the tech geniuses rejected technology for children as a learning tool; in fact, that’s where they believed its true value lay. Gates blogged recently, “One approach that I’m excited about is called personalised learning: combining digital tools, project-based learning, and traditional classroom work to let students move at their own pace, which frees up teachers to spend more time with whoever needs more personal attention.”