Parents gifting electronic gadgets to their children have become a standard and desirable practice.  Smart gadgets are assumed to make kids smarter. But why do tech geeks in Silicon Valley  now routinely demand in their child care contracts that nannies hide phones, tablets, computers and Tvs from their children.

Do you know that late  Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, who tried to put an iPad in the hands of every child once said. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home?”

Nellie Bowles who covers tech and internet culture for the New York Times polled some  parents in Silicon Valley to know their reasons for demanding technology blackout for their kids. Their reactions were quite revealing.

Athena, Chavarria:

Who worked as an executive assistant at Facebook and is now at Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, said

“I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.”

Ms. Chavarria did not let her children have cellphones until high school, and even now bans phone use in the car and severely limits it at home.

Mr. Anderson Chris:

Former editor of Wired and now the chief executive of a robotics and drone company.

“On the scale between candy and crack cocaine, it’s closer to crack cocaine. This is beyond our power to control. This is going straight to the pleasure centers of the developing brain. This is beyond our capacity as regular parents to understand. I didn’t know what we were doing to their brains until I started to observe the symptoms and the consequences. This is scar tissue talking. We’ve made every mistake in the book, and I think we got it wrong with some of my kids,”

Mr Anderson has five children and 12 tech rules. They include: no phones until the summer before high school, no screens in bedrooms, network-level content blocking, no social media until age 13, no iPads at all and screen time schedules enforced by Google Wifi that he controls from his phone. Bad behavior? The child goes offline for 24 hours.

Tim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple told the UK Guardian:

“I don’t believe in overuse [of technology]. I’m not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time. I don’t subscribe to that at all. I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.”

Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates. Businesswoman, philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wrote in the Washington Post of August 24, 2017.

“As a mother who wants to make sure her children are safe and happy, I worry. And I think back to how I might have done things differently. Parents should decide for themselves what works for their family, but I probably would have waited longer before putting a computer in my children’s pockets. Phones and apps aren’t good or bad by themselves, but for adolescents who don’t yet have the emotional tools to navigate life’s complications and confusions, they can exacerbate the difficulties of growing up.”

Jean M. Twenge

Psychologist and author of  “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us.”

Wrote

“The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone. The correlation between depression and smartphone use are strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone.”