Should You Let Your Children Use the iPad? Steve Jobs Didn’t Think So


Written by: Cadence


When New York Times journalist Nick Bilton asked Steve Jobs “So your kids must love the iPad?”, it was more an assumption than a provoking question. After all, millions of children across the world love the fun, colourful and educational kids’ apps offered on the Apple Store, embracing the simplicity of the iconic device. This was why Jobs’ frank response was completely unexpected.

“They haven’t used it”, he said. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home”.  The Apple co-founder and CEO oversaw the pioneering developments of the iMac, iTunes, iPhone and iPad, but actually restricted the exposure his children had to technology.

As developments speed forward at a breath-taking pace, smartphones, tablets, laptops and games consoles are becoming an increasingly large part of childhood. Hands-on play, getting messy and sports have been pushed to one side, while the digital world has stepped forward. The glow of screens has replaced standard rough-and-tumble, while children under 10 are actually becoming addicted to their devices. It’s an image which saddens those whose childhood seemed more innocent and more real

Image Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

While some parents provide unlimited access, with all sorts of technology available even in bedrooms, others are stricter. It’s common to time gaming sessions, use pay-as-you-go mobile phones and only allow internet access for homework. Non-tech schools are even springing up as an alternative across America. Establishments like The Waldorf School are computer-free, with blackboards rather than Smart Boards, and fully stocked book shelves.

Somewhat worryingly, it is the tech-savvy who are choosing this parenting style. Chris Anderson is the former editor of Wired, and currently works as CEO of 3D Robotics. He explained in The New York Times why he didn’t want his five children to embrace the digital world too early, claiming he and his wife have “seen the dangers of technology firsthand”.

It’s been observed that learning has become less imaginative and less creative, while the memory is eroded by the constant supply of information from Google. A rising number of young people are being treated for compulsive behaviour caused by spending too long on their devices. Teachers claim children are lacking dexterity in their fingers and basic social skills from a lack of interactive play, and there are tragic YouTube videos of toddlers trying to swipe a magazine to unlock it.

It’s natural to want to shelter your child from the bad things which are happening in the world, for the time being at least. In the realms of the internet, it’s harder to control this exposure. Pornography, online bullying and magnified peer pressure all come with the territory.

As the internet generation grows, it is becoming possible to assess the actual damage which excessive technology is doing to our kids. Fortunately, parents do have a choice.

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Here’s Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads And Why You Shouldn’t Either

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  1. I think when you let kids use technology it opens their mind and allows them to learn new things. My cousins used technology at a very young age and have grown up to be very smart individuals getting through anything on the internet like a playground. BUT as the article states…there are porn sites, predators, bullies amongst all the other negative things that become available to them once they are online. I think parents should at least monitor what they are doing until they become a age to understand the threats in front of them and develop great communication between parent and child. There should be rules and guidelines for them because I’ve seen some facebook pages with 10 year old kids posting pictures of themselves.
    Kids should be outside enjoying their youth. I don’t think it’s wrong to monitor their time, to set up what they want to view and to go through it with them. They shouldn’t have unlimited access. They should be active, making the routine to get out into the world too many kids are sedentary in front of their computers at a young age and I would call that poor parenting. Internet is never a baby sitter.
    Great article. Thank you!

    • Nicely put. In the generation that’s now growing up, making your kids avoid technology could be more problematic than helping them with their imagination. It’s also proven that it can help children with hand to eye coordination and understanding the structure and order of things. Plus with facebook, it gives them a different level of being able to share hobbies and recent activities in their lives.

      Obviously, limiting access is key. If you allow your children to do too much of anything, it can lead to obsession. It’s all about making sure the things they get obsessed about are positive and the negative things aren’t unlimited.

      We have a system in our house where our children earn points to play games. Each point is an hour on a game of their choosing and they are earned by helping with household jobs or generally doing a good deed that deserves recognition. This is so the children are limited in how long they play for and so they grow up learning how to take care of their home and helping others.

      In any generation, there was always something that would amuse the mind, over the body. Whether it’s chess, cards, comics or going to the arcades. Tablets, PCs, phones and consoles are this generation’s mind candy. It’s up to the parents to make sure they don’t get obsessed and avoid the basic physical things they need in life.

  2. This is a great article, i use technology 24/7 like everyday and i’m 13 i’m sad i know. Now i think i’m quite dumb but smart at computers not really but i know this girl who has no internet at home, who loves to read. Comparing me to her there is a massive difference in english and more etc.

    Having technology is good to have at home, you get to research what ever you like. reasons being it lets kid/adults explore what they like and dislike. But using it in the wrong ways like taking rude photos of themselves is bad. this takes me to another subject Facebook, kids these days don’t read the terms and conditions but if you do thats good. people put bad posts and pictures up these days. now if you go to apply for a job, the boss of that job might go look at your Facebook account unless you have made tight security on account but if you don’t. if that boss see that racist post well you just lowered your chance of getting the job.

    There are problems having let your kids use technology on there own, as this article states there are bullies, porn sites and predators. but that doesn’t mean your parents should spy on your laptop or tablet etc to see what your doing on it. “I’m even having problems just dealing with government watching my computer”.

    kids shouldn’t spend to much time on social media or on technology it can make kids not go outside or even go to school. kids should go outside and have fun there’s nothing stoping them, nothing but technology. “I say too much technology not enough sports”.

    Yet again great article 🙂

    • I think this young person posted a well-thought-out comment. It shows awareness of issues related to use of internet and technology as well as self-reflection. The two responses before mine show neither of those things. MrTinyFish, you showed that you think critically and have social awareness and that is very valuable whether you read a lot of books or use a lot of technology!

  3. I would not allow children to use tech in anything like the ways we consider ordinary, or even advantageous. I might teach them, however, to think about our developmental relationships… first. How do the choices we make change the nature of our minds or focus.

    Hell, I wouldn’t allow adults to, either. But I do the same kind of tactical observation with them, so that we can learn to see what the impacts of our choices and relationships are.

    We do not yet possess the necessary developmental insight or intelligence to survive contact with our own technology.

    But we can develop it, in part, by noticing what’s missing. And analyzing… »why it goes away.

  4. If I ever become a parent, I won’t tell my kids they can’t use technology. I will, however, start with old, basic things. One could argue the invention of cars eroded our walking skills. For instance, my child’s first computer will run DOS, and they will get to play with it.

  5. As with everything in life, it’s about balance and moderation; my kids use an iPad, watch TV and use the internet. They also go wild camping, take our dog for long walks, build dens, make fires, build rope swings, go fishing, read books (voraciously). To limit anything is kind of narrow minded and this did shock me.

  6. it’s not the technology but who controls it as I said before when using a link to get to this site it was hijacked by Mobile Phone and ringtone advertisements
    I guess that is googls idea of free speech

  7. it’s not the technology but who controls the technology .as I said before trying to use link to get to this site it was hijacked by molbil Phone and ring tone Sale’s site .
    I guess that is Google’s idea of free speech

  8. My 15 year old son has a pc he has access to whenever he wants (with obvious filters) in his bedroom and he has an iphone that’s always with him. He uses them as tools, he looks into things that interest him online but he spends as much time as he can out with friends etc. They enable him to be in touch with everyone and arrange his full social life. His Xbox has gathered dust after the novelty wore off after the first few months. To say giving freedom to technology leads to a decline in social interaction and lazyness is unfounded I feel. He is big into being fit, is captain of the school rugby team, not all children who have access to technology at will use it non-stop. I’d like to think he’s not in a minority.

  9. To be honest, I would not give my children electronics until the age they are young adults. This is coming from experience; when I was younger, I used to be on the computer all the time. Because of that exposure at a young age, I had to wear very thick glasses since I was in the 3rd grade. I still wear glasses, many years later. Bad eyesight is the least of what we should worry of our kids, actually, but it’s the same point everyone has already said, pornography. But you can restrict internet use on iPods, iPhones etc. Long story short, I want my child to have a childhood outside, because a real issue with our children is obesity, and lack of exercise (with constant use of technology) will definitely hurt the future generations in the long run.

  10. I say the direction you point them on internet can be beneficial but should be limited to after dark before bed when playing outside is not allowed but of course you ain’t leaving my house till your homework is done so for my kids its up to them how long they have to play outside and how long the have access to online kinda a reward system for discipline wanna play with your friends? Do your homework you want to play video games clean your room in exchange for 2 hours then the eldest steps up and says ill mow the lawn for 3 lol deal! Reward system that everyone wins


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