Tuesday 10 December 2019

'I don’t want them on a social network' - How tech giants like Tim Cook limit childrens' screen time

Protection: Kids under 13 will soon need parental approval before they can sign up to online gaming and social media
Protection: Kids under 13 will soon need parental approval before they can sign up to online gaming and social media
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

In a poll of Independent.ie readers today, 11pc of parents said they had no rules around their childrens' screen time.

Another ten per cent of parents said their children get two hours or more of screen time every day.

We posed the question, as some tech inventors, the very people responsible for our technology, said they restrict their childrens' screen time.

Eight per cent of Independent.ie readers said their children use smart phones or tablets for up to half an hour, while 21 per cent used them for between 30 minutes to one hour.

And more than a third of parents, 36 per cent, said their children don't get screen time every day.

UCD academic Dr Mary Aiken has this week announced that the digital age of consent in Ireland, which is 13, is too young.

Children under the age of 14 are not capable of looking after their own cyber safety, she said on last night’s Prime Time.

It so happens that some tech inventors also agree.

1. Bill Gates

Bill Gates. Photo: Getty

Ten years ago, Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, said he put a cap on screen time when he noticed his daughter was developing an unhealthy attachment to a video game.

He also didn’t let his children get a mobile phone until they were 14.

Today, the average age for a child getting their first phone is 10.

2. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

The late Steve Jobs, who was the CEO of Apple until his death in 2012, revealed a year before his death that he had prohibited his kids from using the newly-released iPad.

"We limit how much technology our kids use at home," Jobs told the New York Times.

3. Tim Cook

Leo Varadkar with Apple CEO Tim Cook

Tim Cook, who took over as head of Apple after Jobs’ death, has said he doesn’t want his nephew on a social network.

“I don’t believe in overuse [of technology]. I’m not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time,” he told an audience at Harlow college in Essex. “I don’t subscribe to that at all.”

“I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.”

4. Apple's CDO Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive, chief design officer of Apple, said he also sets strict limits for his twin boys.

5. Twitter's former head of international communications, Rachel Bremer

In 2015, while she worked as Twitter’s head of international communications, Rachel Bremer said that her two children had private Twitter accounts since they were born.

She also said she has used the livestreaming app Periscope to privately broadcast her son’s school assembly for his grandparents

“We’re gradually getting our son comfortable with social media. I wouldn’t want to restrict it for my children altogether, and then one day in the future open the floodgates and let them at it,” she said previously.

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