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Tech Execs Say Internet is ‘Beyond Control’ for Kids

An article, titled “The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected,” revealed a surprising trend in Silicon Valley. The article cited the common concern during the late 1990s and 2000s that well-off kids would have much more access to the internet than poorer kids. The poor kids would fall further behind in school. Then there would be a huge “digital divide” between the rich and poor. So, there was a huge push to get every child more internet time.

But after the first iPhone and fourteen years after Facebook started, something unexpected happened. Richer families, especially Silicon Valley’s parents, started panicking over the impact screens were having on their children. These families started moving toward less screen time for their kids.

These parents weren’t social conservatives or Christians. They came right out of the belly of the digital beast in Silicon Valley. For instance, one ex-Microsoft executive noted, “There’s a message out there that your child is going to be crippled and in a different dimension if they’re not on the screen. That message doesn’t play as well in this part of the world.” Even Steve Jobs famously kept his own kids fairly tech-free. Other tech celebrities were doing likewise. Why?

As Chris Anderson, ex-editor of Wired and head of a robotics company, explained: “We thought we could control it [“it” refers to the internet, screens, social media, etc.].” Anderson continued, “And 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.” He even compared the internet to crack cocaine.

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