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Education Social Networks Technology

Tim Cook: 'I Don't Want My Nephew on a Social Network' (theguardian.com) 93

Tim Cook, speaking at Harlow college in Essex, shared his views on the limits on technology and social media he feels should be imposed on kids. He said: "I don't believe in overuse [of technology]. I'm not a person that says we've achieved success if you're using it all the time," he said. "I don't subscribe to that at all." Even in computer-aided courses, such as graphic design, technology should not dominate, he said. "There are are still concepts that you want to talk about and understand. In a course on literature, do I think you should use technology a lot? Probably not." The 57-year old chief executive, who took the reins at Apple after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, said the company cared deeply about children outside the classroom. "I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network."
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Tim Cook: 'I Don't Want My Nephew on a Social Network'

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  • narcissism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @02:57PM (#55962757)

    "I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won't allow"

    This sounds very unhealthy, why is he putting boundaries on a kid that is not even his?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is like asking why Darth Vader puts boundaries on the stormtroopers' behavior.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:07PM (#55962845)

      "I don't subscribe to that at all.", the 57-year old chief executive, who took the reins at Apple after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, said. "But what I do subscribe to is Apple Music. 40 million songs. Zero ads. And at $14.99 / month for the family plan, that nephew I made up can jam out or whatever kids do too."

    • by Rhacman ( 1528815 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:26PM (#55963009)
      Maybe it's like how Dale Gribble lets John Redcorn teach his son Joseph about Native American stuff. John Redcorn has expertise in that area and Dale can respect that.
    • Re:narcissism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:27PM (#55963013)

      Because it makes sense to suck up to rich Uncle Tim who doesn't have a next of kin.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      This sounds very unhealthy, why is he putting boundaries on a kid that is not even his?

      Yes, that is weird. But he also doesn't mention the kid's age. Keeping a six year old off Facebook is reasonable. But if you keep a 14 year old off social media, you are basically turning the kid into a social outcast. For an teenager trying to navigate the awkwardness of puberty, the last thing he needs is some asshole uncle micromanaging his social interactions.

      If you don't want your kids to hate you, then you should avoid using parenthood as an opportunity to impose your weird idiosyncrecies on them.

      • A 14-year-old who stays off social media, but is looking forward to a Porche on his 15th birthday (from the same uncle who tells him to stay off social media) is not going to be a pariah. Let's be reasonable. The same rules that apply to your kids do not apply to kids who can call Uncle Tim for an internship at Apple for their girlfriend, etc.

      • you know though, teenage tantrums usually lead to a heartfelt 'thank you' about 10-15 years down the line.

        Frankly, this will be pretty much the first generation of kids to grow up with an indelible list of their shenanigans that will follow them for the rest of their lives. The less shit they put on FB/social media between 14-21 the better.

        There is a reason courts expunge juvenile records, and sadly FB and their ilk will not be so kind.

        Not a fan of apple, or cook -- but he's probably right about this one.

      • Yes, that is weird. But he also doesn't mention the kid's age. Keeping a six year old off Facebook is reasonable. But if you keep a 14 year old off social media, you are basically turning the kid into a social outcast. For an teenager trying to navigate the awkwardness of puberty, the last thing he needs is some asshole uncle micromanaging his social interactions.

        If you don't want your kids to hate you, then you should avoid using parenthood as an opportunity to impose your weird idiosyncrecies on them.

        Well, I am definitely imposing my idiosyncrasies on my kid.

        Kids should have friends. Friends should be friends by doing things together and actually talking to each other. I do not see that social media as a net positive towards those ends at all, and it is and likely to get worse rather than better.

        Furthermore, it is a myth that children should be dependent on deep attachments formed with peers. Yes, that is what they do when the bonds are not maintained properly with family, but that is a desperate sur

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Tech leaders had some insight into what tech, social media is and does. ... Was a Low-Tech Parent (10, 2014)
      https://www.nytimes.com/2014/0... [nytimes.com]
      .. "strictly limited his children's use of technology" http://www.independent.co.uk/l... [independent.co.uk] (24 February 2016)
      .... raised their kids tech-free (October 2017)
      http://www.independent.co.uk/l... [independent.co.uk]
    • It was normal for most of human history that children would find someone to look up to within the large family who would spend time with them and teach them things and who is not necessarily their parent. It was actually healthier to have the option of finding other trusted people to learn from about life beyond just your parents. That was when everyone lived close by of course. So an uncle who you were spending time with might put boundaries on you for your good, in his estimate, with consent of the parent

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      I think it's amusing you chose this title for your post, when keeping kids off social media at a young age would likely help them not be narcissistic assholes, like certain internet celebrities.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      "I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won't allow"

      This sounds very unhealthy, why is he putting boundaries on a kid that is not even his?

      Because he is in charge of Apple, and that's just what they do there.

      Walled garden and such...

  • by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @02:58PM (#55962771)

    I deleted facebook on my phone a week ago and dont think I'll ever reinstall it. those times of idle where i would scroll thru mindlessly are now spent observing the world around me and thinking about things that actually matter in my life.

    I still log on via web on my laptop every 3 days or so as there are some professional groups on there that keep me in touch with some good people but outside of that I have little to no use for it - and I signed up in 2005 as a college student.

    Tim is pretty wise in his advice to his nephew.

    • How's your battery life doin' now? ;)

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      The official facebook app is terrible in fact, and by the way they push publicity, either by how much it is, and stealing your focus and scrolling to the center of the screen, makes me honestly wonder how people put up with the official app.
      I use Friendly+ in the iPhone, that while paid, cuts much of the adverts and also allows me to apply to the fb wall an extensive black list of words of my choice (youtube, videos, trump, obama, religion, football, ....)
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      . those times of idle where i would scroll thru mindlessly are now spent observing the world around me and thinking about things that actually matter in my life.

      Your post is fascinating because you didn't leave Facebook because of privacy concerns; you left Facebook because the tool just doesn't work! It's only purpose is to show you things that actually matter in your life, and it didn't.

      I too am in the same situation. I stopped using Facebook because it showed me nothing other than pointless minutia about people I am vaguely acquainted with. My sister-in-law updated her status: She now has cappuccino! Oh wait, it's updated again: She bought a cute new hat! S

      • I don't need anyone or anything to show me the things that actually matter in my life.I would be very wary of anyone who tried. So I may be missing out on a few things, so what? I have far more than enough to keep me busy indefinitely.
      • Personally, I’ve figured that Facebook wasn’t engaging for me for the same reason that I can’t sit and watch reality TV. Everything is out of context and hyped.
    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      I deleted facebook on my phone a week ago and dont think I'll ever reinstall it. those times of idle where i would scroll thru mindlessly are now spent observing the world around me and thinking about things that actually matter in my life.

      Well, it's good to see that posting on /. made the cut.

  • I admit I don't have kids because I'm single but I didn't grow up around the Internet until my University years and even then I would say that it's full of wonderful things and horrible things. I don't think giving your kids full access to everything is wise and possibility slightly irresponsible. Life shouldn't revolve around social media at least in the beginning.

    • Life shouldn't revolve around social media at least in the beginning.

      I think this statement can be improved by removing the last five words.

  • I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network.

    I bet he meant the major existing social networks, but there are at least some [wikipedia.org] that should be fine. Besides, if most everyone can use a social network well, wouldn't that mean that there's space for some manner of 'social network' that operates within those boundaries?

    Maybe you're just holding it wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe I miss Steve Jobs. He did not pretend to give a crap.

  • to another city Social Networks helped a lot. It let her keep in touch with the friends from the old city and make ones in the new city. This was especially important because she was one of the poor kids in her school. The job I got that made us move paid better than my old one (which was probably on it's way to being offshored anyway), but it wasn't quite enough to live well anywhere near where I worked. It didn't help that there wasn't a lot of time to drive the kid around town to hang out (and I'm in Ame
  • So this shows how much he is out of the loop. For a CEO of a major technology company to say that is actually disturbing.

    Social Networks are tools. It's not that they exist that is the issue; it's how they are used, just like any tool. Kids/teenagers are social creatures, even more so (it seems to me) than a lot of adults, and kids can fall out of the loop, lose friends and suffer social consequences if they are simply *banned* from using social networks. That's like telling a kid in the 70s/80s that th

    • by Arkham ( 10779 )

      I have four kids. Of them, one uses snapchat, one uses Instagram. None use Twitter or Facebook. The next generation doesn't really want social media.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      The problem with social networks is that they're detracting from human interaction. A few weeks ago I was at a friends house, his 14yr old daughter was on facebook on her phone, talking to her friend...who was in the same room. They weren't talking with anyone else, simply with each other. I'm sure not the first person to see that happen, and I'll bet anyone who has kids of that age or has friends with kids that age have seen it happen. You can also see this with a lot of young adults who have no real u

      • A few weeks ago I was at a friends house, his 14yr old daughter was on facebook on her phone, talking to her friend...who was in the same room.

        I'll bet your friend is grateful that you're keeping an eye on his 14 year old daughter.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          I'll bet your friend is grateful that you're keeping an eye on his 14 year old daughter.

          Such is the life of a godfather. But for someone like you who doesn't have much in the way of family, it's pretty easy to see what your problem is.

      • That's why I did all my IRC'ing from midnight to 4am as a teenager. I was in a shitty time zone. Though, it's probably caused permanent circadian rhythm problems as I'm still going to sleep after 5am.
    • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:41PM (#55963119)

      While you are technically correct, the problem is that these social networks are used overwhelmingly for socially negative reasons.

      It was supposed to be used for people to be able to connect and discuss. Instead it's used for profiting, large-scale social manipulation, and even outright hate. SM has taken the natural human fear of "being left out", and abused it to such an incredible extent that people en masse are getting burned out and simply walking away.

      There are lots of ways to accomplish what social media was supposed to do, but without being forced to expose yourself to all the negative aspects.

      I personally have given up on facebook, twitter, and well, pretty much all of them. It's just too much. I'm much less up to date with how my friends are doing, which is unfortunately, but I also feel a heck of a lot less overwhelmed by the world too.

      For similar reasons I've also stopped watching and reading news. It's very rarely relevant to me. If there wasn't a local incident, they'll fill up the time with remote incidents instead, so that you are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of "look how utterly shitty the world is".

      Being bombarded by negativity from all directions *will* take it's toll on you, even if it doesn't seem like it at first.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So this shows how much he is out of the loop. For a CEO of a major technology company to say that is actually disturbing.

      Social Networks are tools. It's not that they exist that is the issue; it's how they are used, just like any tool. Kids/teenagers are social creatures, even more so (it seems to me) than a lot of adults, and kids can fall out of the loop, lose friends and suffer social consequences if they are simply *banned* from using social networks. That's like telling a kid in the 70s/80s that they can never use the telephone to call their friends because bad things happen over the phone.

      Sorry, but you hold far too ignorant a picture of social media to assume it's merely a useful tool and not a weapon of mass addiction.

      Social media has driven children to commit suicide. Peer pressure used to be contained to within a physical radius. Now, the entire world can make fun of you, thanks to social media. A gun can be a useful tool, but there's a damn good reason we don't put it in the hands of children. And we should start wising up as to the impact social media is really having on young mind

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Social Networks are tools"
      Tools to push ads, track people as they interact with ads. Derank results, ban links and accounts. To see what trends are emerging.

      Tools for the owners of the tech, not the consumers of the tech.
    • Social Networks are tools. It's not that they exist that is the issue; it's how they are used, just like any tool. Kids/teenagers are social creatures, even more so (it seems to me) than a lot of adults, and kids can fall out of the loop, lose friends and suffer social consequences if they are simply *banned* from using social networks. That's like telling a kid in the 70s/80s that they can never use the telephone to call their friends because bad things happen over the phone.

      Not a good analogy. I think it's more along the lines of telling your kid not to smoke crack cocaine. Social networks are addictive, by design. They just SUCK you in and ewww.. then they get all over you and smell funny. Ewww. I agree with Mr. Cook, I wouldn't want to expose a kid to social networking. If I had to expose them to something like Facebook, I'd definitely make it a supervised excursion into that dark pit of human extreme views and emotions.

      I'd sooner let a child onto IRC before Facebook.

  • "I don't believe in overuse [of technology]..."

    ...says the guy whose entire fortune and claim to fame are built upon the overuse of technology by very large numbers of people. Now that's what I'd call an iHypocrite.

  • by poofmeisterp ( 650750 ) on Friday January 19, 2018 @03:42PM (#55963143) Journal

    ..thoughts are thoughts. I don't want to see bad things come to people, either, but I don't know what's good or bad for them; I know only from my perspective.

    Here's why I'm bothering to post a comment...

    My girlfriend has severe social anxiety (so do I, so pot-kettle). Anyhow, I gave up Facebook years ago because I noticed how people that were former high school friends (good friends) would come back into town from a far-away place they now live. In the case of the one I'm thinking about, they fly all over the world rather randomly because of their career, so visits back "home" aren't frequent. When they would come back into town to visit parents/holiday/etc, they would post about how much they would love to hang with me and catch up on stuff (and can't wait to do it!) I would wonder, then, why that person would be leaving town because vacation time was over, and they didn't bother to make an effort to see me for even 5 minutes. I would look on Facebook and see this long stream of posts about their drinking and hanging with hot girls (pictures included of the drunken embraces and "fun").

    Repeat this, like, around 10 times (vacations where they were back in town and expressed great interest in hanging with me, same outcome). I got the picture (no pun intended at all). I noticed that others were maybe interested in seeing me or talking with me, but it was mostly posts about their horrible days at work, stupid prices on things, random thoughts about their relationship that swayed from great to horrible to great to horrible to, cross-links to "funny" things or "statements that warrant a movement"... yeah. I got to seeing before long that I was basically looking at peoples' personal self-imagery they wished to express to the world. Others were calling for sympathy, etc. None of them wanted to leave the screen or phone they were posting from, though, unless it was getting them something to immediately satisfy their wants.

    After a while, I deleted the Facebook account and don't miss it in the slightest.

    Back to girlfriend. She is socially anxious and doesn't like being in crowds of people. Also doesn't like trying to join in on conversations where she hasn't quite heard 80% of it, so there's not much to say to get involved. She doesn't get welcomed in for conversations because she's not a drama enthusiast (playing into others' drama). However, she is a socially-minded person and wants to be part of groups or admired. She also expresses admiration toward others on Facebook to feel indirectly reverse-rewarded. Here's the kicker; we don't really do much. She spends most of her time off of work on Facebook, scrolling through posts and laughing at the simplest humor that a 5th grader laughs at, and having eyes glaze over as she's looking at others having "fun". This "fun", of course isn't anything but public-facing imagery, but she's living vicariously through these people and mentally becoming part of their lives and activities because she gets to see their forward-facing info and pictures. A friend posting a 100,000th-removed forward/cross post of something that's scary or "bad for you" becomes a huge deal like it's the one person them self warning her of these things and she needs to research them and try to alter her lifestyle to shape around the thing that's ultimately nothing but someone's boredom post of randomly collected information compiled into some big warning or statement about how bad things are *gasp for air*.

    I look at myself not giving a damn about other peoples' Facebook lives, but really caring about them when I see them face-to-face or have nice conversations on the phone with them. The conversations we have don't even touch on the crap that's posted on their Facebook account. It's almost like two different people, or like I'm talking to the debugging code or the work going into the code; Facebook gets to see the constantly-changing alpha releases, respectively.

    I love life without Facebook. What I don't like is seeing people so caught up in it

  • I don't have a kid

    Not qualified to speak about what's good for them or not. I would debate having just one isn't enough to qualify someone.

    Bottom line, tough shit. Too many people with 'good intentions' fucking shit up for the people raising children.

    B.b..b...b.... but think of the childr- *SLAP*

    • I don't have a kid

      Not qualified to speak about what's good for them or not. I would debate having just one isn't enough to qualify someone.

      Bottom line, tough shit. Too many people with 'good intentions' fucking shit up for the people raising children.

      B.b..b...b.... but think of the childr- *SLAP*

      This is a crock of shit. Most parents are only parents because they made a terrible decision. Furthermore, most parents continue to make terrible decisions regarding their children. The most obvious sign of a bad parent is when you hear them indignantly yell, "don't tell me how to raise my kids!"

      You only have to look at some basic statistics, such as the fact that those with the least means are the most likely to have children, to realize that being a parent has no bearing on the validity of one's opinions

      • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

        The first false premise you carry is that you need a degree to be 'successful'.

        And yes, having children, no matter how terrible you think they are *is* an absolute prerequisite to holding an opinion to raising them.

        Just like being knowledgeable in your field of work entitles you to an opinion on your SME.

        Any parent that hasn't had 'I hate you!' screamed at them have probably not been doing their job adequately.

        Go have a couple kids, then come back to comment.

  • and dump down and learn noting early on.
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      and dump down and learn noting early on.

      What the heck are you trying to say?

  • So that's OK with us.

  • Does Tim Cook's nephew care what his uncle says about social media?

  • He's just saying this because of Apple is not longer dominate to creative people. Linux (industrial proprietary software) and even Windows and Microsoft's hardware is growing impressive. Even wacom is still going strong. Apple pencil is targeted to consumers; Apple is a consumer company. They're not innovating so of course he's taking the hipster marketing route. Steve Jobs chose a good successor that can make you believe what is coming out of his mouth isn't marketing.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Saturday January 20, 2018 @07:12AM (#55966621)

    I see people reading some agenda into what Cook is saying. But Cook is 100% honest and I totally agree with hin. Tech experts always have put technology into perspective, and rightfully so. Especially in education. ... Look at how difficult a job we have at getting it to the Ords that voting machines are a bad idea.

    Steve Jobs did the same, as do Clifford Stoll [wikipedia.org] and many others.

    My daughter knows her way around the Linux Netbook she got in her teens and we use Google Docs for me to help her write her english applications to universities. I have however also taught her to be paranoid about her online presence and gave her a set of ready-made spoof accounts along with it. Which she uses. She also creates her own when the need arises.

    That her dad is *the* computer expert in her closer and wider vincinity has the consequence that she is not half as addicted to social media and whatscrap than her friends are. She left high school in the summer and now travelling in south america for half a year or so. We occasionaly do chat on hangouts every odd day, but at times wifi coverage is a tad flaky in the rainforrest ... especially on your way to this place [wikipedia.org], apparently. She blogs to keep all her friends and family updated at once, but other than that has way better things to do than online-binge. She uses computers very efficiently, as a tool. But not obscessively. She is way more data safety/backup aware than her mom or any of her friends. And for computers/tablets/whatnot she looks at specs more like I would rather than an Ord (weight, ruggedness, battery time, data exchange & rescue possibilites, etc).

    Bottom line: Tech like anything else is like medicine: Good fundamental knowlege and lean doseage is everything. Forget that and you raise dweeps adicted to the screen, not enabled grown-ups.

    My two cents and two thumbs up on Cook on this one.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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