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Steve Jobs

Why Elon Musk Said YouTube and Reddit Educated his Children

elon musk
Elon musk and kids

Elusive Tesla Founder Elon Musk gave an hour and a half interview to podcasters on the audio only app Clubhouse last night and confirmed that YouTube and Reddit educated his children.

In context, the world’s richest man agreed to be interviewed by the founders of the “Good Time” club on Clubhouse and during the conversation, one of the fan interviewers asked him for advice on educating a 5-year old.

To that query, he then responded, “My kids were mostly educated by YouTube and Reddit” 

following up with “generally, with education, you want to make it as interesting and exciting as possible.” 

This morning, I saw a few people try to decode what he meant by that, wanting him to extrapolate and expand on his pronoucement.

Twitter user Jhony Guttierez added his spin which I believe got it right.

“The gist of it being that learning by doing is better than just learning and that a narrative is much better instilling relevancy as you learn,” Gutierrez hypothesized. “I think he’s spot on because we learn best when we’re driven by curiosity.”

He added: “My extrapolation from that comment is that they’re doing their own research based on curiosity, thus better and longer-lasting learning. Also, kids nowadays have access to digital resources we didn’t.”

It is quite true. Without prodding, guidance or cuing them, my children have managed to discover the lyrics to old 90s songs I used to dance to, they have visited other cultures, watched documentaries, found odd webseries that incorporate ethical decisions into common problems and more…all on YouTube.

My now 18-year old used to get into deep philosopical discussions and debates with his Reddit friends and go deep with it. I don’t recall having such intellectual conversations with my friends at the mall and arcade as was the common hang outs when I was a child.

I am always amazed and surprised when I discover that my children are aware of a certain concept, and I ask did they learn it in school and they shake their heads leading me to say in my head, “YouTube!”

So it is quite true that they discover through exploring and engaging and interacting with their peers online.

Musk’s comment is almost the exact opposite of Apple CEO Tim Cook who has said that children should not use social media, stating in 2017 that “it can also be a place where basic rules of decency are suspended and pettiness and negativity thrive.” Similarly, the heads of other Tech Giants at Microsoft, Google and even Steve Jobs have said they too limit their children’s access to technology.

Agreed that social and digital media has its problems with bullying, misinformation, toxic behavior, age inappropriate materials and creeps, but it can be quite the tool for developing sharp and intellectually curious minds.

The SpaceX founder recently welcomed a son with his partner Grimes last May and also has five children with his first wife, Justine Wilson

The two were married from 2000 to 2008, and they utilized IVF to help Wilson’s pregnancies that lead to the birth of twins, Griffin and Xavier, in 2004, and triplets, Saxon, Kai, and Damian, in 2006.  

They lost their first child together, son Nevada Alexander, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2002 when Nevada was just 10 weeks old.

Steve Jobs, Top Tech CEOs said they limit their kids’ screen time

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told New York Times reporter Nick Bilton that he and his wife limited their children’s access to technology. The reporter wrote in a September 2014 piece how shocked he was and was certain the house was littered with devices.
But after that interview, Bilton said he discovered that man of the top founders of major tech companies also limited their children’s screen time. He wrote:
Since [the Jobs call], I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.
I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.

Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.

Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” he said of his five children, 6 to 17. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all, becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents.

Alex Constantinople, the chief executive of the OutCast Agency, a tech-focused communications and marketing firm, said her youngest son, who is 5, is never allowed to use gadgets during the week, and her older children, 10 to 13, are allowed only 30 minutes a day on school nights.

Evan Williams, a founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium, and his wife, Sara Williams, said that in lieu of iPads, their two young boys have hundreds of books (yes, physical ones) that they can pick up and read anytime.
So how do tech moms and dads determine the proper boundary for their children? In general, it is set by age.

Children under 10 seem to be most susceptible to becoming addicted, so these parents draw the line at not allowing any gadgets during the week. On weekends, there are limits of 30 minutes to two hours on iPad and smartphone use. And 10- to 14-year-olds are allowed to use computers on school nights, but only for homework.

Read the entire piece HERE!

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