Bill Gates Didn't Let His Children Use Phones Until They Turned 14

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Bill Gates Didn't Let His Children Use Phones Until They Turned 14

Photo Credit: Bill Gates/Twitter

  • Gates children didn't get a phone until they were 14
  • No screen time after a certain hour helps them sleep better, he believes
  • Limiting use of technology is prominent among Silicon Valley elite

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates – now co-chair on the Gates Foundation with his wife, Melinda – has revealed that he limits his children’s exposure to technology, in an interview with British tabloid Daily Mirror.

“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,” he said in the interview. “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.”

“We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal,” Gates added. “We didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.”

Gates has three children in Jennifer, 20, Rory, 17, and Phoebe, 14. He didn’t mention the brands they were eventually handed, though his wife Melinda has stated in the past that the children weren’t allowed to use any Apple products.

"Of course they ask," she said, speaking on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme in 2012. "But they get Windows technology. The wealth from our family came from Microsoft so why would we invest in a competitor?"

The Gates family isn’t the first one in tech circles to keep their children away from the products they are heavily invested in. In 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs echoed Gates’ words to the New York Times, and said that his kids hadn’t used the iPad.

The technology-averse parenting style runs as a trend among the Silicon Valley elite, who have seen the dangers of technology – primarily addiction – first-hand. And while they are busy crafting ways to eke out higher consumption from the rest of the world, they also ensure their children’s use of technology is regulated.


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