Bill Gates is surprisingly strict about his kids’ tech use — and it should be a red flag for the rest of us

Bill Gates is surprisingly strict about his kids’ tech use — and it should be a red flag for the
rest of us

Chris Weller, provided by
Published 7:00 am, Sunday, January 14, 2018
For all his success in designing world-changing technology, Bill Gates has set surprisingly strict rules for how his kids can use that technology, the
billionaire philanthropist has said in multiple interviews.
“You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way — homework and staying in touch with friends — and also where it has gotten to excess,” Gates
told the Mirror in April 2017.
Each of Gates’ three kids — ages 15, 18, and 21 — has grown up in a home that forbade cell phones until age 14, banned cell-phone use at the dinner table, and
set limits on how close to bedtime kids could use their phones.

Bill Gates, co-founder and non-executive chairman of Microsoft
Gates told the Mirror his kids routinely complained that other kids were getting phones much earlier, but the pleas did nothing to change the policy. In a
separate interview with Matt Lauer, then at the Today Show, Gates said he doesn’t go as far as keeping the passwords to his kids’ Facebook accounts, but that
online safety is “a very tricky issue for parents now.”
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Smartphone overuse — or “addiction,” according to some psychology experts — is becoming a growing concern for parents, academics, and even workers in
Silicon Valley. Gates has some company in his old-school approaches to smartphone regulation: Steve Jobs, the famed Apple CEO and inventor of the iPad in
2011, didn’t let his kids use the product at home.
“We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” Jobs told New York Times reporter Nick Bilton shortly after the iPad’s release.
According to educators Joe Clement and Matt Miles, coauthors of the recent book “Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How
Technology Overuse is Making Our Kids Dumber,” it should be telling that people like Gates set strict rules on tech use.
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“What is it these wealthy tech executives know about their own products that their consumers don’t?” the authors wrote.
The answer, according to a growing body of evidence, is the addictive power of digital technology. In the past several months, a slew of Silicon Valley
executives have denounced the all-consuming power of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter in capturing users’ attention through their products and
“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Napster founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker told Axios in November.
“It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways.”
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The most recent sign people are turning against the Silicon Valley giants: Two of Apple’s largest
shareholders, who collectively hold a $2 billion stake in the company, wrote an open letter
expressing concern for what Apple products are doing to kids’ brains.
“We have reviewed the evidence,” wrote the shareholders, Jana Partners LLC and the California
consumers are using your products in an optimal manner.”