A recent New York Times article titled "Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent" quoted Jobs as saying, regarding his kids use of the iPad, “They haven’t used it...we limit how much technology our kids use at home.” This article was published on September 10, 2014, but this conversation between Jobs and the author happened in 2010, just as the first iPad was released. Since this article was published, I have seen numerous bloggers take this Jobs quote and run with it. "Jobs didn't even let his kids use the iPad and you shouldn't either!" "Steve Jobs banned his children from using an iPad." Or, my personal favorite, "Steve Jobs didn't want his kids to get addicted to Apple gadgets." Now, I don't know about you, but I did not see anything about banning the iPad, or technology addiction anywhere in that Jobs quote. He said he limits their use of technology, as all good parents should do, in my opinion. At the time, of course his kids hadn't used the iPad yet, it was brand new! I loved the visionary that Steve Jobs was, but I'm not certain even he knew the limitless possibilities the iPad would hold.
The iPad can be a learning device. My son was just a baby when the iPad was first released. He learned the names of animals and their sounds from the "Pet the Animals" app. "Adam Learns Shapes and Colors" taught him his shapes and colors in a fun and exciting way. "Elmo Loves ABCs" and "Endless Alphabet" helped him learn the letters and their sounds. Just last week I posted about how Tally Tots Counting helped my son learn how to count to 30...he's up to 100 now! As he gets older, my son is learning the art of storytelling through "Puppet Pals" and "Toontastic." Even "Angry Birds" and "Cut the Rope" teaches problem solving. The numerous books stored on the iPad allows stories to be read to him anytime he wants. The iPad can be a learning device, and should be used that way.
The iPad does not hinder creativity. Steve Jobs was not wrong when he said he limits his kids use of technology. Yes, my son has an iPad, but he does not play with it all hours of the day. Sometimes a week or more will go by when he hasn't used it. Despite having an iPad (or 2 or 3!) in the house, my son still has the greatest imagination of any kid I've known. He loves dressing up in his superhero costumes, he loves playing outside, he loves playing with playdough, and drawing, coloring, and painting. Just this weekend he and his Daddy and his Grammy had an elaborate sidewalk chalk map complete with pictures and a story drawn on the driveway. As parents it is our job to foster our kids' creativity, and not allow the iPad to hinder it in any way.
I am not a low-tech parent. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a techy. I absolutely love technology and all the knew ways of learning that come along with it. We put our phones away during dinner, we have conversations about our day, we read actual books, we rarely turn the television on during the week, but we are not a low-tech household. The iPad allows us to FaceTime with our family members out of state, and gives Daddy the opportunity to read us books when he's out of town.
We limit technology, but we also embrace it.