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We didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14: Bill Gates

Bill Gates is as strict about use of mobile phones as most parents.


Despite being the man behind the world’s largest PC software company, Bill Gates apparently has a fairly strict view on the use of technology when it comes to his own children. Like any other parent, Bill Gates and wife Melinda, imposed some strict rules on gadget use in the house, wherein up till the age of 14 their children were not allowed to use a mobile phone.

In an interview with The Mirror, the former Microsoft CEO revealed that when his children were growing up, he limited their exposure to mobile devices. While up till the age of 14 the mobile phones were a strict no-no, even after they crossed that age, the dinner table is out of bounds for the usage of mobiles. “We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier,” Gates told the publication.

Gates is father to three kids — Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe, who are 20, 17, and 14 respectively. “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. Further, sharing the worry of almost every other parent in the world, he added, “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.” ALSO READ: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates tops world’s richest list with $86 billion worth asset

Quite interestingly, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who had numerous clashes with Bill Gates, agreed on this very approach with him. After the launch of the original iPad, Jobs was once asked what his children thought about the device. To everyone’s surprise at that time, he said, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” 


In an article from 2016, The Independent, quoted Walter Isaacson, who wrote the biography Steve Jobs, who describes Jobs family’s evening meals. “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 a computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.” ALSO READ: 10 ways Apple changed smartphones forever with the iPhone

The Independent also talks about Chris Anderson, who was the former editor of the Wired magazine, and co-founder of 3D Robotics, a company famous for manufacturing drones. Just like Jobs and Gates, apparently Anderson too believed in a necessary distance from technology for his children. He told the publication that his children often accused him of being overly concerned about technology, saying none of their friends had the same strict rules when it came to their gadgets.

Considering that the immediate caricature of the present generation is instinctively drawn with a mobile device in hand, it is very interesting to note how the biggest tech magnates feel about personal technology themselves. It stresses on the long-said proverb, “Too much of anything is likely bad.”

 हिंदी में भी पढ़ें: बिल गेट्स ने अपने बच्चों को 14 साल की उम्र तक नहीं दिया था स्मार्टफोन

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  • Published Date: April 24, 2017 3:16 PM IST