‘Safe’ Age for Kids and Smartphones

May 9, 2017

As students return to school after a summer off, we often get updated on all the “drama” that emerged from a summer where students often have unlimited access to technology and we are freshly reminded of how careless decisions involving social media can quickly get out of hand. This further reiterates our no-phone policy at BGMS and perhaps challenges many parents to consider whether their children should own a smartphone altogether. In fact, you know our culture’s tech obsession has gone too far, when even the man who created the modern computer industry says we should get our kids offline.

Bill Gates has spoken out in an interview saying he doesn’t think children should be allowed to own a smartphone until they’re 14. The move has been lauded by technology and parenting experts, who have argued that parents should resist the urge to indulge children in tech for as long as possible.

The world’s richest man for the fourth year running has said he and wife Melinda banned their three children from owning phones until they were 14. Bill and Melinda also set limits on screen time, so as to allow more time talking with family. Speaking to a British newspaper, the billionaire touched on their set of rules and the discipline enforced.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

It might be a case of too little, too late for Australian kids however. According to the Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, by the time Aussie kids are 10, one in every five will own a smartphone. The number skyrockets once children hit 12, with more than three quarters of our young teens owning a smartphone. Despite marketing things at young people, its revealing what tech creators actually think of their devices when it comes to their own children.

Before he passed away, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously answered a question from a New York Times reporter, asking him ‘What do your children think about the new iPad?’ By saying that they wouldn’t know, because they’re banned in his house.

Betty Gilbert Middle School

26845 - 27 Avenue, Aldergrove
BC, V4W 3E6
Phone: 604-856-8178
Fax: 604-856-7831