How Tech CEOs and Founders Manage Their Kids' Screen Time

Tech CEO working at computer

They’re responsible for creating the technology and platforms that keep us glued to our screens, but how do tech CEOs and founders manage screen time for their own children? You might be surprised to know the houses of many tech giants are far less digital than one might expect. 

In fact, a survey conducted by The Information revealed that the kids of Silicon Valley residents spend considerably less time on screens than the average American child. Some even go so far as to hire nannies to police their children’s screen time. 

Read on to find out how tech elite like Alexis Ohanian and Mark Zuckerberg approach screen time rules for their kids. 

Bill Gates: Microsoft

BIll Gates
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Bill Gates’s children are grown now, but while they were still under his roof, he was open about his moderate approach to their use of screens. He explained his philosophy in an interview with the UK’s Mirror: “You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way — homework and staying in touch with friends — and also where it has gotten to excess.” Some of the ways Gates guarded against that excess was by setting screen-free times, such as during meals and before bed. His children were also not allowed to have their own phones until the age of 14, despite their protests.  

Alexis Ohanian: Reddit

Alexis Ohanian
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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian looks forward to the day his daughter Olympia is old enough to play video games with him. But he and wife Serena Williams aren’t in a hurry to put a screen in her hand anytime soon. Ohanian told CNBC, “It’s really important that she gets time to just be with her thoughts and be with her blocks and be with her toys, so we’ll be regulating [tech use] pretty heavily.”

Susan Wojcicki: YouTube, Google

Susan Wojcicki
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Susan Wojcicki is a tech veteran. In fact, Google was started in her garage. And the former Intel employee went on to become employee number 16 at the company. These days, Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube but, despite her years in the tech trenches, she admits to struggling with the issue of screen time for her kids. "We spend as much time as other parents taking phones away from our kids,” she told the Belfast Telegraph. And while Wojcicki does allow her younger kids to use YouTube Kids, she limits the amount of time they spend on it, saying, “I think too much of anything is not a good thing.”

Mark Zuckerberg: Meta

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As the co-founder of Facebook and executive chairman CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg may be one of the most recognizable names in tech. Facebook and Meta have been under fire for how their products impact children, including recent congressional hearings, which certainly makes one wonder how Zuckerberg handles screens for his own children. He has previously said that he lets his kids video chat to keep in touch with relatives who live across the country. However, he draws a different line when it comes to what he calls mindlessly consuming content, saying, “I don’t generally want my kids to be sitting in front of a TV or a computer for a long period of time.”

Sundar Pichai: Google

Sundar Pichai
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With regards to his children, Google CEO Sundar Pichai admitted in an interview with the BBC that he has “always been worried about technology." But he also understands the digital world he’s raising them in. So, rather than set strict limits, Pichai prefers to stress the importance of digital literacy. He says he tries to foster a sense of personal responsibility by encouraging them to develop their own boundaries. 

Chamath Palihapitiya: (Formerly) Facebook

Chamath Palihapitiya
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Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya has admitted to feeling “tremendous guilt” about the platform he helped build, telling an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business that “we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” Given this perspective, it might come as no surprise that, when it comes to social media, his own children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.”

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