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Silicon Valley nannies are being asked to monitor kids’ screen time



dad baby phone
There are “nanny spotters”
and “nanny spies.” (Neither is pictured here.)


  • Silicon
    parents are growing increasingly concerned about the
    effects of technology on kids’ development.
  • According to The New York Times, some are asking their
    nannies to sign contracts guaranteeing zero screen exposure for
    their kids. Others are secretly snapping photos of people who
    look like nannies using phones near their charges.
  • Even tech moguls like Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have
    expressed concern about what tech is doing to their own
  • However, research suggests that there may be some
    positive consequences of tech use, at least when it comes to
    teens and social media.

Silicon Valley parents are panicking.

According to
The New York Times’
Nellie Bowles, they’re so concerned about
the negative effects of technology on their kids that some are
drawing up contracts with their nannies around screen exposure.

Others are secretly snapping photos of people who appear to be
nannies using cellphones near their charges and then posting them
to parenting message boards, Bowles reports.

A typical post might read, “Did anyone have a daughter with a red
bow in Dolores Park? Your nanny was on her phone not paying
attention,” according to Lynn Perkins, the CEO of UrbanSitter, who was quoted in
The Times article. “The nanny spotters, the nanny spies,” Perkins
called them.

The no-tech contract may be a relatively new (or newly
recognized) phenomenon, but parents’ anxiety about their kids’
screen time isn’t.

Business Insider
previously reported
that parents who work in Silicon Valley
tech companies are limiting and sometimes banning their kids’
access to the devices they helped create. Even tech titans like
Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates have placed restrictions on
their kids’ technology use, Business Insider previously reported.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example,
has said
that he doesn’t allow his nephew to join online
social networks. And the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs
said in 2011
that he didn’t let his kids use the iPad.

Panic about kids’ screen time may not be grounded in reality

At this point, however, there’s still limited research on the
developmental effects of exposure to smartphones and other
touchscreen devices, Business Insider’s
Dave Mosher reported

In fact, Business Insider’s
Erin Brodwin reported
on research that found social media in
particular can have positive effects on teens and young adults.
For example, Brodwin cited a large
of 36 studies published in the journal Adolescent
Research Review that found teens are using digital communication
mostly to bolster in-person relationships.

“There are a lot of good things that are happening with social
media use today and there’s been a really negative narrative
about it,” Candice L.
, a professor of psychology and social behavior at the
University of California Irvine, told Brodwin.

It’s possible that parents’ unease about the effects of
technology on their kids reflects their concerns about what
technology is doing to them.

As one nanny in San Jose
told The Times
, “Most parents come home, and they’re still
glued to their phones, and they’re not listening to a word these
kids are saying.” She added, “Now I’m the nanny ripping out the
cords from the PlayStations.”

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