SYLVIA McCRORY JUNE 2020
We live in an age where parents provide their children with technology, including smartphones at extremely early ages, sometimes before they can even walk. Parents are using these devices as babysitters. Parents are using them to ensure their children have all the technological advantages possible. Society including educators and other people of authority are touting the importance of technology for children of the 21st century to compete in the world in which they live. Commercials and advertisements are praising the advantages of technology. With the current pandemic technology has “never been more important” for children to be connected to education and peers.
I do not dispute there are times when technology is important for students and adults. My concern is in the massive overuse, abuse and addictive dangers which lie in these devices.
It should be an eye-opener and wake-up call to parents to realize many of the creators of the very technology being used today, are regretting their part in these devices.
Additionally, it should be paramount to parents who want their children to have all the technological advantages, to know many of the high tech executives of Silicon Valley including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates put extreme limits on the use of technology by their own children.
Ironically, neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates grew up in a culture of advanced technology. They were creative and inventive in their thinking. They displayed determination and perseverance. However, children today are being robbed of the opportunity to cultivate these attributes.
This in no way minimizes our need for technology, instead it presents a warning to parents about encouraging these devices at early ages and allowing overuse to become addictive.
Many technology innovators require low-tech homes. Nick Bilton questions Steve Jobs about technology in 2010 just as the iPad was coming out, in his article Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent, “’So, your kids must love the iPad?’ 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.’” Bilton continues to describe Steve Jobs’ family life by quoting “Walter Isaacson, the author of “Steve Jobs”, who spent a lot of time at their home. ‘Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,’ he said. ‘No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.’”
Below is a list of tech executives and their views and limits on technology for their children.
Bill Gates ———– no cell phones until age 14, no cell-phone use at dinner table, limit time children could use phones before bed.
The information below is from the New York Times article by Nick Bilton, Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent.
Chris Anderson – chief executive of 3D Robotics ———–time limits on technology, parental controls on every device in his home. In response to the complaints of his children he states, “we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
Alex Constantinople –chief executive of the OutCast Agency – tech focused firm –own children ages 10 and 13 are only allowed 30 minutes of technology on school night.
Evan Williams – founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium —–instead of iPads his children have hundreds of actual books to pick up and read.
Below are excerpts from an article in Business Insider by Leanna Garfield, These tech exec have regrets about the world-changing sites they helped create.
Sean Parker — co-founder of Napster, president of Facebook states, “the social network has had unintended consequences on how society functions. ‘I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because of the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and . . .It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other . . .It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways, ”Parker said. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Chamath Palihapitiya – joined Facebook in 2007 –states “Dopamine-driven social network is destroying how civil society works. “No civil discourse, no cooperation: misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem – this is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem,” he said at a conference at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He gave the example of an incident in India where fake messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp contributed to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” he said. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want.” For that reason, Palihapitiya recommended people take a “hard break” from social media. He later added that he believes Facebook also “overwhelmingly does good for the world.”
Facebook’s director of research, David Ginsberg, and research scientist Moira Burke published a post that details the effect that Facebook may have on our moods. Researchers found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average.
No matter what your current views of technology and its benefits, we must weigh the negative along with the positive and be vigilant as consumers to protect our children from the dangers that lurk on the internet. Just like driving a car is great for getting us from one place to another, we would not allow young children to drive, because we know the dangers.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Copyright 2020 Christian Parenting Today. All Rights Reserved.
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