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Dark consensus about screens and kids emerges in Silicon Valley

Cell phone screen with apps.
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Technologists in Silicon Valley are becoming more aware of the dangerous effects significant screen time can have and aren't letting their own children use them, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Companies that are spinning out new tech each year have crusader-like mission statements of changing the world for the better. But within the last year, "several high-profile Silicon Valley defectors have been sounding alarms in increasingly dire terms about what these gadgets do to the human brain."

Parents in tech are banning children from phones and even from nannies, now understanding what the effects are on a child's brain, per the Times. They're arguing:

  • Screens can no longer be seen as a learning tool for children.
  • The risks for addiction and stunting development seem high.
  • The debate in Silicon Valley now is about how much exposure to phones is OK.

One key quote: "This is scar tissue talking. We’ve made every mistake in the book, and I think we got it wrong with some of my kids. We glimpsed into the chasm of addiction, and there were some lost years, which we feel bad about," Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now the chief executive of a robotics and drone company, said.

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