The New York Times published an article yesterday saying that Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent. Contrary to what you might think, Jobs did not let his kids have unfettered access (or in some cases any access) to the devices he created at Apple. Nick Biltin reports,
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.
I am not saying that Steve Jobs was an all-around exemplary parent. I simply don’t know enough about him to make such a claim. But I do think that he was wise about this. Ubiquitous access to electronics is not good for kids (or grown-us for that matter). There is hardly any better way to wall your child off from reading and from the world of ideas than letting him spend all day in front of a screen. Read the rest here.
My oldest is 9 and we were so proud of him typing in his name for a password and playing games when he was 3. With my younger children I just think it’s sad when they want to be on the computer. We don’t have an iPad. We have a 3rd gen iPod touch that they get for special situations, a few times a year. I consider it a good day when they’ve gone the whole day with no movie or computer time; we don’t have cable or a broadcast signal. When they’re in a media cycle (aka I’m being really permissive and it’s too hot to go to a park), that’s all they want. 3 year old + media withdrawal = ugly.