Pop Culture

Stop Sharing That Stupid Article About Steve Jobs Not Letting His Kids Use iPads

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kids-using-ipadFor the past two months, just about everyone I know on Facebook has shared some sort of article declaring “OMG Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads!!!!!!” This story was born from a New York Times piece by Nick Bilton, titled “Steve Jobs Was A Low-Tech Parent.” A few days later SFGate.com morphed it into “Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads,” and then NextShark picked it up with some extra title finesse as “Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads (And Why You Shouldn’t Either).” Now I see all three of these articles at least once a day, chastising me as I scroll through my Facebook feed. I am here to tell you that it’s time to f**cking cool it.

I get why people love to share this story. The person who created The Thing doesn’t let his kids use The Thing, even though we all do! What does he know that we don’t? Certainly this means we’re all monsters, right? In fact, Jobs’ contribution to the original piece is short, just a couple of sentences stating that his kids haven’t used the iPad yet because: “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

Now unless you imagined Steve Jobs and his family sitting around eating iPad sandwiches, this probably isn’t shocking. It’s not like limiting technology consumption is a new thing – it’s just that the technology has changed. But I grew up only being allowed an hour of TV during the week, and I don’t see how this is different – or revolutionary.

Bilton notes that other tech and business big wigs also follow suit. “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” says Wired editor Chris Anderson says in the original Times piece. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

This is all good advice, and I suspect the bulk of parents follow it. Guess what guys – we’re already just like Steve Jobs and Chris Anderson. There’s no need for the shame-sharing of the article AGAIN to make us all feel like shit because we let occasionally let our kids binge on the iPad to avoid meltdowns on airplanes.

Never once have I seen one of these stupid Steve Jobs articles shared and thought to myself, “Ahhhh, you’re right, Steve Jobs article. Thanks so much for sharing this, friend from that one summer I spent at that weird camp when I was miserable and had backne. Guess I better shut off Daniel Tiger the next time my kids watch it on the iPad. Thanks, Facebook!”

The constant barrage of stories about how I could be a better mom, parent, woman, and human are endless. The sharing of information is obviously powerful, but Facebook has become a bulletin board where we’re all putting up the same sign. The message then overwhelms, and its original intention evaporates. All we’re left with is a wagging finger.

So I ask of you this – the next time you feel the need to re-post this story, instead please just listen to Steve Jobs’ advice and walk away from your screen. The sharing of it and every other alarmist parenting article only makes everyone else feel garbage parents, when I bet we’re all doing a pretty good job. Or at least the best we can.

Now excuse me while I go bathe my kids in a tub full of screens. I haven’t read any article yet telling me that it’s bad, so why not?