According to New York Times writer Nick Bilton, who interviewed several well-known tech executives about their families’ tech habits, many tech execs put specific limits on their kids’ screen time. Bilton spoke with with prominent tech leaders including Steve Jobs (of Apple notoriety), Evan Williams (a founder of Twitter and Blogger) and Chris Anderson (formerly with Wired and now running 3D Robotics). As Bilton’s New York Times article explains, these tech execs knew that prolonged screen time could have many adverse effects including becoming addicted to these devices.
Some of the boundaries that these wise executives cited were setting allowances — 30 minutes a day– or no devices at all during the week (except for homework), delaying their kids having their own smartphones until the age of 14 (according to this article, non-tech parents may give in to smartphones as early as 8 years old). One executive made a distinction on approving the use of devices for “creating” vs. “consuming” (I agree with this!)
One common strategy all tech exec parents agreed upon was banning screens from the bedroom.
Are you considering setting limits for your kids devices? Do you wonder how your kids will use this extra time?
If so, I have a few suggestions:
- Keep books (soft/hardcover) in the house and consider book clubs and related activities
- Start a home-based craft project such as letting your kids decorate your dining space (framing school or camp art projects or drawings, or using their favorite colors)
- Start field day games in your yard or neighborhood
- Use every day household items to explore music activities
- Get your kids involved in your family’s shared-meal plan (invite them to plan menus, help pick out groceries, help with age-appropriate meal prep in the kitchen or make a music CD for background music during your meals together; and of course, keep your shared-meal time “tech free”!)
Do you think these tech gurus would ban tech devices from their dining tables, too?
As someone who is an advocate for a 1x daily shared meal, I was pleased to hear Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson report this:
“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.”
Activities related to a daily shared-meal plan can help your kids develop some wonderful social and creative skills, to name just a couple of benefits. Would you like help creating a shared-meal plan that suits your family? If so, click here to read about my book, and join The Shared-Meal Revolution!