Episode: Screens and Kids: Do Techies Have Different Rules than the Rest of Us?

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Screens and Kids: Do Techies Have Different Rules than the Rest of Us?

In a world of screens, parents face some tough questions: To limit or not to limit? By how much and when? How different is Candy Crush from Codeacademy? And what is all the new tech doing to our children?

In this episode, we dive into the conundrum with the techies themselves -- the parents who code the apps and create the devices on your desk or in your pocket. We want to find out if they know something the rest of us civilians don’t.

We’ll hear from Sameer Ajmani, a Google software engineer, who deployed some evidence-based parenting and experimented with screen time extremes for his seven year-old. It didn’t go so well as you might imagine, but the lessons were probably worth it.

“The reality is that [tech execs] actually have a better understanding of where tech can go wrong than most non-tech parents do,” Nick Bilton.

Nick Bilton, tech columnist for the The New York Times, joins Manoush to swap stories after informally surveying tech execs in Silicon Valley about their family rules. It seems the parents most entrenched in the tech world are the ones most weary of what they’ve created. 

This episode will leave you thinking about your own house rules, whether or not you have kids. If you’ve figured it out, even just a little bit, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

If you like this episode, why not subscribe on iTunes here, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. It only takes a few clicks and helps us a bunch. Thanks.  


Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Heard in this episode: 

  • “Anything that you do in excess is probably not good for you,” Nick Bilton.

  • No parents in history have ever had to cope with the unprecedented convergence of a ubiquitous sophisticated alluring habit-forming screen technology and unfettered unregulated advertising," Susan Linn, founder of The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

  • “Addiction in the 60s was about sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. The response in the 80s was safe sex education, say no to drugs, and the commoditization of popular music. This generation, the addictions are games, social media, and upbuzzclickbaitworthy articles.  What's the response?” Sameer Ajmani, parent and programmer. 


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Automated Transcript (Why is this transcription so bad?)
hello friend this is an episode of newbie felt i get from when we use to be called new tech city fame the content to field name enjoyed am not i'm not part of this is debbie when life seems new tech eight i think i'm kathleen koch don't think first of all who i'm your host who needs them i hope thanks were you and i am hopeful that three year old and i think the hot hong kong the hang you broke that could hurt i can't ever get treatment you do that here is a high high he got a lot of nasty comments were giving the timer in hindman him hurtling in a few more at the commencement building that you'd come with it i phone and enjoying it all of us on the internet when technology in here and he needs to be more like the scene and haul each we're figuring it out and we go along but hopefully this week's episode will help just a little bit i'm it can indict mcveigh pound puppies inherent how those people who are making all the hype hands of the gadgets the ones bringing on a cold for the city and deemed designing them must have at the week at all day long how do day to deal with technology at home with your family do they know something that we'll regular folks don't maybe they discover it keeps it just right balance on today's show our friends and your times tech columnist make built-in gives us a round up of how silicon valley folks manage screens and her kids said hardy kids like the i've had in case the importantly well it don't worry we will limit tech and and in our house what will we get in and when i tell you what about my own chat rooms and taking parents that is so again rallying let me others minding self anointed center and the hidden in a creative universe and components the technique during the action for myself so friends put me in touch with the mere act huh how it hey sonnier had that each team in computer science from an nineteen he's been a software engineer at global for over a decade considered him a mythological thinker of the family beneath his roof in array and keep trying and think about all or wrong and what it said those are basic skills sonnier has three kids bee call for your own olivia and seven year old no way but how's this for a twist his wife me in the chief the child psychologist she is in a corner the market on emotional intelligence this is a lot of self doubt alive question a lot of insecurity about what's good what's not good at county and a child psychologist under one roof double bogey on the tax martha plus psychological no how'd it come on give these people don't have the answer to smart parenting who dies before i couldn't cover me indians in your secrets i need to ingratiate myself with their kids hang back with your name narrowness however you've samples that came here and all that found some with ann mcrae the hive detected a second grade my thumb in second grade him and only indeed needed graham to war books crammed into shelves back the board games in his room black fact that allow the so far no screens to be found just i'm really sweet kid in the meeting that beacons gadgets are being anti or not quite that bad heard engineering mean he had been hunted vinik's dream experiment on no win last summer it why didn't have that these bags of technology for themselves and calling evidence beast parenting were if checking whether these blood is enormous look necessary or worked out sure and i had said that says that he headed theme that technology as the forbidden fruit by putting a lot of them limits on it made it more attractive morning that that the all the time for that because of some summer vacation we were told was also said both you know lots and watch as much as well as many games to everyone and go or under so that as yet said and then as ms gets a self regulated self regulating did have a gentle and we hope came basically play and screens all day long yes those are the violent our hope was that the law you he would find us on balance and i'm not overdo it that is not exactly come to pass the way longer to get themselves headaches and he would come out just how the body dollars and you get the worst smooth sailing the experiment to not allow it meet the new limits on screen that was at home will fail you're all screens all the time turned no lean into with on the husband and son you're in me and he decided to try some rules but only on dean c. gadgets that were purely for fine you know those games parents minion reisch turbo fast the educational games and mania is still no limits so it's only a like that awful crime year i've had that says no it's like this as long as a warning into all that bad know when it's an education again didn't only work at either you can see it in his body when he's been playing screens for too long he is tired he is cranky his blood sugar is probably low key as much more moody that's when he came up with the current will begin to get thirty minutes of plunge green time on weekdays two hours on weekends so near him and you're less rigid about educational staff still but now they watch the clock the weasel i'm playing my practice has come to the leaders were limited because is what i see repeating the same thing over over and you had with evan davis reporting i say so really gaining new skills not just doing it to pass the time and that's worse than you know what some of that book must have something fresh something new during my visit four year old livia used her half hour by plane with the p. yes that she really liked that tiger that the place fred rogers as for an all in he built a virtual rode on the family had pad with the mind craft at any age cia why no collar and then track that way that round the whole of pages of the whole world well i'll the whole world a at okay confession i don't know how to play mind craft and if you can dad because my son had been bugging me to install it i might i add that is wondering if you really missing some vital twenty first century skill by not playing my craft or other learning so called learning games these are the ones that said near lake so might be to the way he sees that some screen time and certain dean's country be healthy cut the rope is another good one where you know the true source of all what are people more to tell year or two decades of or die for this to you burn goldberg asked an inimitable assume that the first reason i didn't think about it i do this and this will happen which five mind games were we can live with it is best for voters in our won't leave it to the games and i've got bad the follow it's not just outlined hangar setting limits and it's about making sure the kids get the right skills that they need to get a job in the future rate because eventually all these jobs are going to require technological know how it will pass the eighties the program is convenient for him part of his childhood i think programming is an important skills or bought i don't think it's about wanting to or technology or are you know making it out for a few specific forecasts for my kids are doing something where i think they used to cure the hopalong wish will write and say look here's a way that you can use the stood with her epitaphs for his published a book was workers of bolshoi and let him look out world to know what won't press in this is a ho isn't what the rich and it is in this mystery so like many in bath funnier any any are looking for balance is a global and jr know something i don't about the dangers of screen time not really but because he lives believes and will love this technology so mighty he can integrate it into his family life in a different my technology isn't demonized or turned into a special award for good behavior help honey jealous of this comfort level when it left some years house then a few days later he emailed me he clearly been thinking about our discussion here's what you wrote me addiction and he indeed your manager annie thank you so on trend into this and his e-mail addiction in the nineteen sixties was about sex drugs and rock and roll the response in the ease was safe sex education say no to drugs and the commodity the sheds popular music this generation the addictions emptiness social media and bug light beam were the articles what's the response he wandered up there alone the official response from the american academy of pediatrics business needs to mimic entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day and absolutely no screens for kids and it yourselves that after spending time with senior in his family and everything it's worth of interested in the same limits entertainment screen time that the specify interest and it and there's a difference and really know yet and it coming up on you take the hit at you response from the other side of the country have been york times columnist make a built-in at and parenting lessons from silicon valley but anna reality was that they actually have a better understanding of where to go wrong that must not attack us to poop over the fate that the deep had happened here that a cut of the food and and looked at it and let that it needed a timing use immorality and on this episode four to adapt and then you think what the rules are that screens and the yield is converted into these very special guest for this shall make built-in tech columnist for the new york times author of hatching twitter in a hyena and i am good son and a few weeks back you had a story in the times the desert of steed and stayed at the top of the most emailed waste of articles and it was called steve jobs with the low-tech apparent that kind of pretty obvious that tell us about the conversation that you had with steve jobs all is this kind of little secret that the people in journalism no good people on the public don't that steve jobs used to call people all time and kind of yellow them about their articles that they had run and so on and i was on the receiving an award as calls and and and i try to change the subject one point said aces in two thousand innocent hardy kids like the i've had in case you bark at me while it calmly we will limit tech and and and our house and comes and what the shock and he would talk to little bit about how old he tells us kids how much they can use technology and so on and what i found over the years is that i have bumped into more more people and tack that have said that um you know executive facebook and twitter and apple and you know all these companies and i found that really interesting and finally answered his basketball why in and the reality was that bed they actually have a better understanding of where to can go wrong than most non tech parents to him why did you think he was time to resurface said now lytle would he feel it was going on around your world that may be thinking of when and when a piece about this was what i have a nice nephew and their names are luka and low lukas nine and he loves my craft and my niece is also heavily addicted to it and i was over my sister's place and she was arguing once again with liquor few weeks ago about his time monitoring the weekend she said that there's no i'd had during the weekend and peaceable friday is not during the week it's the beginning of the weekend the says they did they abandoned and i ate my sister asked my advice and i didn't really know the answer so i decided i'd start calling around the sun the people i know and what the people again acosta is really interesting was chris andersen to use to run wired now runs a drone company and he was talking about has five kids and he is incredibly strict with his kids use of technology there's actually no screen time during the week there's a the ottoman rule the dead there's no gadgets allowed in the bedroom doesn't matter if you or two years old or or ninety six but the one i have an issue which is like i find this idea that a person like steve jobs who has made something yeah i found the act had that has still infiltrated my life rate they couldn't use it with his children this makes me think like what does he know that i don't know blake had drug dealer who doesn't touch the stuff that he deal whoa that's probably the best regular rafe and our rules like you know actually no catches at the dinner table dinnertime was was devoted to talking about history and arden books and and things like that so if you look about you as a question of what steve jobs and we don't i think that it's not just what steve jobs knows i think it's what anyone that kind of bummed works in these industries nose and then that is that that anything you do mahmoud excesses probably not good for you but you didn't act another tack appearance who have found ways of balancing right to think it is her to figure it out without having to go to extremes a comedy what you the tattoo was alley her toby and he's the founder of i like he's an adviser to facebook drop box zap those in actually be a clip we can play for you of how he manages at the rules for them or zero to be on school nights it did start surf the web or wanted to or they get on the computer charges for creativity they were take photos and videos and all three kids enjoy computer programming occasion of halley designated difference he says between consuming in creating yes so alley one's a web site called that good or which teaches kids how the code and he does society is on dog food as they say in silicon valley he loves his kids use these different products them these technologies to make things and in the beautiful thing but in me and let's admit it that alley part of the he's acting as an adviser to facebook this is a company that makes a lot of money off of advertising and yet that's ally of these take the parents pay their bills right yeah i've spoken in the past on his money take the two season when she's the founder of the campaign for commercial free childhood she's also psychologist at harvard medical school and to me she who really click the digital age and i'm very stark perspective no parents in history i have ever had to cope with the unprecedented convergence of all ubiquitous sophisticated o. chlorine habit forming screen technology and i'm flattered unregulated advertisement and that combination is really i think what the major problem is the basic the combination addiction and advertising bring him to get married cattle toxic cocktail that's what season when is worried about how many of these parents that you spoke to talk about not wanting their kids to be infiltrated by advertising exactly a non that no one no one said the thing about than i thought that was kind of shocking i mean i spoke to people from facebook i spoke to people from twitter and so on and they eat i think that they understand the d. e. and problems that come without blood at the same time they see bigger issues that the war era an idea with the addiction problems wanting night they did learn about one hour since been people for the story was there's s. s. b.'s offer called open fiennes and you get an opening in a store in it what it does is even stole it on the other the route or in your home and for the wi-fi access and then you can sever bunch role in you can say they're certain things that people can see that the rather won't work at certain times always different things and you can do and then they're very strict rules even saved literally no one in this house can tell you to dot com or to any videos from that website you niggers is bothering your times article that gets mentioned alongside your steve jobs or call it that wine i'd have gone down his legend great this is one my maverick bill for matthew years ago about parents who work in silicon valley any send their kids to waldorf schools now if you are familiar with waldorf we hear said description of their policy on packing kids smaller schools actually see societies emphasis on electronics and screen time as quite detrimental divert of steiner's school another walter schools strongly subscribed to a known tech approach to education in the early childhood through the lower grade for cinemas wendy tally sheets from the waldorf rudolf steiner school actually here in new york and as far you can tell is no attack in family is a big thing in silicon valley it's interesting i just moved on to los angeles and and and all the hollywood exacts that make all these movies also send their kids to waldorf school sophisticates funny won a venture capitalist reach out to me after i arrived read this article and said i'd completely ban my kids from any technology with the exception of like an hour window on sunday mornings and then that this guy said to meet them they're perfectly capable of living in the fifteenth century fifth in a built-in as columnist for the new york times you can now find him on thursdays and the style section thanks nick thanks for having me for array to go on tell us your parenting intact rules no screens during the week only use a computer for homework maybe you have a more laissez faire attitude report yourself using the police nemo hat on your phone and mail it to pass at new tech city that work each death might be an extinction indeed you know what hearing trying to figure this all out some of this episode work posted on facebook intend and i be doing me a favor and until they got my friends tell you my family rules and passing this is a little controversial i'm not crazy about the gains any of them i would rather and that my kids want to shelby and marched in a story we now our favorite is this wacky bbc committee called we have time in my pocket partially think from kind i talked it's funny there is in your new market a little less than in the end that no sleeping sleeping sweeping across the screen the child and park home not agitated when we turn it off but then maybe this is how a journalist for its coming up next week and episode that will make you think differently about southeast and the universe and life on our planet yeah making big promises that i think i can come through for you we've got to win an absolutely obsessed with space travel one who actually knew when to ban them once i felt their profit than that and it's going and then rumbling and said you know the vibrations that i knew it was male in the other woman with a ticket to go what are the first people to actually purchased it is all over the last eight to two percent mortgage my house thing i think this is one of mine the three episodes ever eat almost made me want to overcome my claustrophobia and get my own ticket to speak really seriously don't mistake subscribed on itunes for where ever you like to listen to on demand audio in a new technique at work today he knew little subscribe button on the right you can also always leave your comments there we love to hear from you or you can tweak asked that you take the army directly at the news the thanks so much for me in nineteen this is the attacks in front of the human life it looked up seth who thought her death the but the time and get in not that she had good good good it did it so that there was a joke when we found out later with a fake show or something not just british humor so good company might not get up and glacier creak