Lemme get this straight:
In 2010 a journalist asked Steve Jobs off the record (after a telephoned dressing-down) what his children thought of the iPad. Jobs responded:
This two sentence throw-away-comment not worth publishing in 2010 means, nearly five years later, that Steve Jobs didn't allow his children iPads, let alone any use of them, and neither should you. Obviously.
I'd seen this story (or lack thereof) thrown around all over Twitter and Facebook and HuffPost Parents and various name-it-and-shame-it parenting sites over the last couple weeks. I ignored it because a) we don't own an iPad and b) we allow our kids frequent (though monitored and within human reason) use of technology and/or screens. (see Traveling with Cats... I mean kids). This non-story has been used by worried parents and writers as a defense of (or a challenge to) obssess over how we're melting our kids brains with screens.
I get that concern. I really do. Which is (one of the many reasons) why we don't have an iPad, or allow them on social media or have up-to-date smart-phones for our children.
(Aside: We did have a Nook (e-reader/tablet-thing) which we loved, but we lost it. Our predisposition to losing things is another reason we don't have an iPad. End of aside.)
Of course - OF COURSE - we should limit kids screen time. We're not robots. We want them to be able to exchange human emojis, I mean emotions, and spoken words with other real-life people.
But have we decided we don't guilt each other or ourselves enough that we need deceased tech-billionaires to do it for us? Are we really to believe that the very same man who as a teenager created a computer from spare parts in his garage, which ultimately changed mass communication and modern technology as know it, would withhold the very benefits of his creation from his own children? Really?
Here's another life-changing quote:
Imagine! Dinner... at the table, plus conversation!
How exactly is this news? And when did it turn into a parenting-blame-game sound-byte?
I'm just not down with parental shaming on peripheral things (we're not talking abuse, malnutrition or neglect, here). And I get a bit annoyed with the double-speak when we all happily - and maniacally - buy anything the Jobs empire seems to offer us. Correction: not offer. Apple isn't giving out free iPads willy-nilly to unsuspecting 4-year-olds. We're talking hundreds, if not thousands of dollars/euros we in the developed world personally throw at Apple whenever a new product hits the shelves.
For argument's sake, let's say Jobs really did ban all technogadgetry from his offspring. I'm pretty sure I could do the same to infinity and beyond if I had a nanny, cook, drivers, tutors, an extra spouse or two, six hands and the energy of an Olympic athlete.
But I don't. Which is why we gladly operate three hand-me-down iPods/iPhones, for which I'm so, so thankful. My kids can message their grandparents, read the Bible and watch back to back episodes of Ninjago... all while I write this blog post.
See? Technology isn't perfect (and don't even get me started on the redundancy of the iPad... my husband once suggested we get one since we could "buy a keyboard for it!"... you mean, like a laptop?).
Let's be adults here, mind our kids and make wise choices. And let's all cool it on the media hysteria and save our hyper-vigilance for when it really matters.