Bill Gates says THIS is the safe minimum age for kids to get a smartphone
To say that our lives are becoming more and more revolved around technology is almost an understatement at this stage.
In fact, you know our collective tech obsession is tethering on being too much when even the man who many hail responsible for creating the modern computer industry as we know it says we need to get our kids offline.
In a recent interview, Bill Gates, himself a father of three, says he doesn’t think children should be allowed to own a smartphone until they are 14 – a rule himself and his wife Melinda are enforcing with his own kids. As well as this, they operate with strict limits on screen time in the Gates' household.
The main reason, according to the 61-year-old Microsoft founder, is so that everyone will have more time to talk to each other and not sit with their noses buried in their devices all the time.
“We don’t have cell phones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cell phones until they were 14, and they complained other kids got them earlier,” Gates said in an interview with The Mirror.
“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. 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.”
Much as my own children are both too young to have even started asking for things like iPhones and tablets (thank God!), I do know that many (many) children in Ireland are using and owning smartphones long before the age Gates think is appropriate.
In fact, a recent survey in Australia showed that by the time Australian children are 10, one in every five will own a smartphone. And those numbers increase sharply again by the time the children reach 12, when more than three-quarters of our young teens own a smartphone, numbers I am fairly certain are similar in many countries here in Europe too, including Ireland.
Gates' stance on the matter, however, has been lauded by technology and parenting experts, who, in recent years, have argued passionately that parents should resist the urge to indulge children in tech for as long as possible.