Bill Gates and Steve Jobs raised their kids tech free, according to an article written by Entrepreneur magazine.
Let me share something else with you. Bill Gates didn’t give his daughter a smartphone until she was 14 years of age, fearing the effects of too much screen time.
What I find so ironic is the backlash that sometimes I get for promoting techno moderation in society. Some folks have said to me things like “Luis, you don’t love technology all the time. Blasphemy!”
Or, “Isn’t it hypocritical to have created the @escthemachine movement and use technology to spread the movement?”
Give me a break!
So, the late Steve Jobs said it is OK to use computers in moderation, but when I say it … many people go crazy on me, especially my own colleagues in my field when I attend certain national media conferences.
Maybe I should change my name to Bill Gates and enjoy the perks of being a big celebrity in computing rather than a critic of technology with big aspirations. I kind of like his position. Please call me “Bill” from now on, OK?
Listen carefully: All this technology isn’t good for you, period. All this fascination with smartphones will only make you more dependent on devices. By the way, how much more money have you made because of all of this technology?
Do you remember how fascinated people used to be with cigarettes? The smartphone took the place of cigarettes in this regard with the exception that we are now conditioned to using these tools 24/7. People didn’t use to smoke 24/7, did they? Technology took addiction to a new level of conditioning, and that’s scary.
It is 10:31 p.m. as I write this, and I am receiving text messages nonstop on my iPhone right in front of me. Shouldn’t I have the right to rest from work on a Friday evening prior to homecoming? I need to wake up very early tomorrow and yet … my phone is constantly blinking with new messages.
Of course, I could choose to ignore these messages, but you get the point. Smartphones aren’t always good for us, especially because they can be an intrusion in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I like to rest a little bit once in a while, especially on a Friday evening.
Back in 2011, I had a different philosophy, I must admit. I made technology first, above my family and above my health, and I paid a high price for it. I got very sick because of my obsessive use of digital devices back then, and ended up walking with a golf club as a cane for almost a year, my body was so stressed out.
I ended up developing a systemic health problem which led to an inflammation of my middle ear, causing severe dizziness and other heath-related side effects.
No wonder the inventors of all of these technologies protect their children or say we should block these technologies from reaching them until a certain age. Good for them!
Now that you know this, what are you going to do to protect your kids? I protect my daughter by limiting smartphone use to one hour a day. She is only 4 years old, I must add. She doesn’t need to be on that smartphone for long. She needs to learn from Daddy about the need to love others, play and treat everyone with respect, not make her life about what is playing on YouTube.
I don’t know about you, but using these technologies in moderation makes complete sense to me.
Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs’ kids were sheltered against all this technology, but mortals like you and I were not. But, who said life is fair?
I am pretty proud to have taken a stance against all this nonsense. This overreliance on smartphone technology, other digital devices and social media isn’t that great for you, in my opinion. Its side effects are as dangerous, in today’s society, as some would have you believe not using them could be.
The answer to all of this is moderation. As I always say, “Use technology in moderation!”
It is not complicated.
(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book, “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info.)