A Principal Shared How Tech Billionaires Keep Their Kids From Using Tech

It’s normal now for kids to watch an iPad all through dinner, look at their phones in the car, and spend every moment in school staring at a computer. There’s a lot of debate on how bad that is for them—but even investors in Apple have some concerns, according to an open letter from JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System in January of 2018. The letter demanded that research-backed studies be implemented to see the effects of constant screen time on child development.

Live Science reports that there have been a few studies, ones that indicate that constant screen time is linked to chemicals in the brain that are similar to those present in people with anxiety and depression, that constant use of the Internet may cause grey matter shrinkage and other horrible things that anyone who spends a lot of time on Instagram can probably relate to. I know I always feel worse after even just fifteen minutes of looking at my phone. And yet…I can’t stop.

Katharine Birbalsingh‏ is a headmistress in the U.K. who tweeted a blurb from The Times that has blown up because it indicates that the people at the top of the tech pyramid do know how dangerous their product is:

Birbalsingh writes that she tells parents all the time that tech moguls give their kids books while marketing their products to other people’s children. The blurb she shared reads:

“Melinda Fate’s children don’t have smartphones and only use a computer in teh kitchen. Her husband Bill spends hours in his office reading books while everyone else is refreshing their homepage. The most sought-after private school in Silicon Valley, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, bans electronic devices for the under-11s and teaches the children of eBay, Apple, Uber and Google staff to make go-karts, knit and cook. Mark Zuckerberg wants his daughters to read Dr Seuss and play outside rather than use Messenger Kids. Steve Jobs strictly limited his children’s use of technology at home. It’s astonishing if you think about it: the more money you make out of the tech industry, the more you appear to shield your family from its effects.”

Alice Thomson in The Times

The tweet has been met with some pushback from people who say that technology is often a force for good in education and the Waldorf school is pretty freaking weird anyway:

But others confirmed with their own anecdotal evidence that no one in the business of making distracting tech will let their kids be distracted by it:

It’s something that every parent has to decide for themselves, but both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are supposed to be geniuses. If they’re smart enough to keep their children away from smartphones, maybe we should be, too?