A lot of parents worry that their children are obsessed with their smartphones, and using them far too much. Turns out they’re not alone. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates revealed that he didn’t let his kids use a cell phone until they were 14, and still puts restrictions on them.
“We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case, that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour,” he said in the interview with British tabloid Daily Mirror, of himself and his wife Melinda. “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.
“We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal,” Gates added. “We didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.”
Gates has three children, aged 20, 17, and 14. An although he doesn’t mention what brand of smartphone each kid uses, Melinda has confided in the past, they weren’t allowed to use Apple products.
“Of course they ask,” she said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today, way back in 2012. “But they get Windows technology. The wealth from our family came from Microsoft so why would we invest in a competitor?”
And they’re not the only tech-famous family to keep the children at arm’s length from technology. In 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told the New York TImes that his children hadnn’t ever used an iPad.
Tech magnates like Gates and Jobs have seen first-hand just how addictive technology can be; it’s often the reason these companies are able to make such huge profits. We don’t need all the fancy technology at our disposal, but we do want it. And apparently, these parents are doing what they can to have their children control the technology, and not the other way around.