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Bill Gates’ top 3 tech rules for his kids—and what we can learn from them

Not surprisingly, these guidelines from Bill Gates are genius. 

Bill Gates’ top 3 tech rules for his kids—and what we can learn from them

For many of us, the name Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is synonymous with tech innovations. But even though they helped make personal computers and smartphones widely available to the general population, they were both much stricter when it came to granting internet access to their own kids.


Gates’ technology rules are simple: His three kids—now 15, 18 and 21 years old, respectively—couldn’t own a cell phone until age 14. They weren’t allowed to use their phones at the dinner table. And don’t even think about bringing that phone to bed after lights out.

You may think an industry leader would be a little more lenient on tech use. But once you learn his reasoning, you’ll understand why the Microsoft co-founder is strict. Speaking to The Mirror in 2017, Gates said, “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.”

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The late Steve Jobs also set limits on his kids’ technology use. In fact, Jobs, who was Apple’s CEO until he passed away six years ago, told The New York Times in 2011 that he banned his children from using the iPad he helped invent.

Personal screen time is increasing among youth: A report released last year by Common Sense Media found 42% of kids ages 8 and younger now have their own tablets—a 41% jump from 2011. That same study revealed that young children also spend at least an hour a day glued to their mobile screens; in 2013, it was only about 15 minutes.

And the effects of screen time are worrisome. A 2017 Clinical Psychological Science study found that teenagers who spent more time with their mobile devices than socializing in person were more likely to report mental health issues such as depression. Though the research doesn’t show causation, experts told the Daily Beast a correlation is clear.

Now two major Apple investors want tech giants to take responsibility. In an open letter to Apple, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and JANA Partners, two groups that own a combined $2 million in Apple shares, have urged the Silicon Valley company to study the effects on smartphone use on children, as well as expand parental control options on its products.

In a letter dated Jan. 6, the shareholders wrote, “Apple can play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.”

This, of course, is not to say technology doesn’t have its advantages. Assistive technology, for example, is an amazing tool for children with disabilities to become immersed in learning. And, as a whole, technology can make learning more interesting and fun, which can engage more children.

None of us want our kids to become dependent on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. So it starts with us—the parents—through the positive examples and restrictions we set.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

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