In the right circumstances, the iPad can be a powerful interactive teaching tool for children. Oftentimes, though, parents mindlessly throw their kids the family tablet to keep them preoccupied when they’re busy, or quiet when they’re trying to drive. Today, the New York Times‘s Nick Bilton revealed an interesting interaction he had with Steve Jobs when he was still running Apple. In less-than-appealing circumstances, Jobs had called Bilton to kindly critique one of his articles about the iPad, when he revealed this nugget about his family life:
“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.
Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.
In addition to Jobs (who also didn’t allow for devices at the dining room table), Bilton highlights a handful of tech executives who intentionally limit the amount of screen time their kids get at home. (The notable exception: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.) Maybe, Bilton writes, these tech CEOs “know something that the rest of us don’t.”