“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” – Walt Kelly, Pogo
A couple of Apple investors want the tech giant to do more to fight smartphone addiction among children. Their open letter cites alarming evidence that smartphone and social media use can lead to distraction, depression and addiction. A growing number of Silicon Valley leaders have also been out sounding the alarm, as I have for years.
The thing is, Apple, Facebook and the rest of big tech already provide settings and tools for parents to help control their children’s smartphone and social media use. Can they do more? Probably, but that’s not really the problem. Nobody wants to admit this, but the problem is you and me. The problem is the parents.
All the good parents I know severely limit their children’s use of technology they know to be harmful to their physical and mental development. Ironically, most tech executives I know do the same, and not just for their kids; adults are susceptible to the same issues. And who do you think sets the example and buys the phones for the kids?
Congress is also getting into the act on this. Why am I not surprised. As usual, the bureaucrats are aiming at the wrong target — Apple — but hey, at least it makes them look like they’re doing their jobs. Sheesh.
I have a message for all the elites, politicians, investors, activists, academics, opportunists, attention seekers and cause junkies climbing on the bandwagon so they can look like do-gooders and get some feel-good PR (are you listening, Tony Fadell?): This is a parental problem — a you problem — not a tech problem.
In the immortal words of Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” What we need is a little less finger pointing and a lot more good parenting, personal accountability and self-discipline.
Image credit Kroejsanka Mediteranka via Flickr