Leadership

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Don't let your kids use social media

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a product launch event on October 27, 2016, in Cupertino, California.
Stephen Lam | Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a product launch event on October 27, 2016, in Cupertino, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't like the idea of children using social media.

Cook visited a group of college students in London on Friday, where he celebrated the launch of Apple's Everyone Can Code program. Even as one of the world's top tech executives, Cook admitted that he had an issue with today's excessive use of technology and the access that children have to social media.

"I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on," Cook said, according to The Guardian. "There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network."

But Cook's recent wish to keep his nephew from joining an online social network isn't the first time he's spoken about the topic.

"The internet has enabled so much and empowered so many," Cook said during an MIT graduation ceremony in June of 2017. "But it can also be a place where basic rules of decency are suspended and pettiness and negativity thrive."

Cook also warned students about the dangers of getting caught up in the trivial moments, online trolls and worrying too much about what others think.

"Measure your impact on humanity not in likes, but in the lives you touch; not in popularity, but in the people you serve," Cook said.

Just several months later, Cook also denounced social media companies' lack of oversight during the American presidential election in 2016.

"The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers so as to influence their thinking," Cook said about the use of social media platforms during NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt in November of 2017.

Although the students participating in the Everyone Can Code program each received an iPad to follow the Apple curriculum, Cook noted there also needs to be a balance in the activities we all engage with each day.

"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," Cook said. "I don't subscribe to that at all."

Cook's opinion held true as he discussed the secondary role tech needs to play even in tech-based classes such as graphic design.

"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," he said.

But even as Cook speaks against the prolific use of social media, former Apple executive and tech entrepreneur Tony Fadell has said that children and adults alike can blame companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter for their addiction to technology.

Fadell told CNBC Make It via Twitter that, although this consequence was unintended, the companies "are in the position to give us the info to help us understand our usage habits & the ability to control/monitor them with tools."

Two of Apple's most prominent investors Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System further confirmed this sentiment in a letter they sent to Apple's board of directors on January 7.

"More than 10 years after the iPhone's release, it is a cliché to point out the ubiquity of Apple's devices among children and teenagers, as well as the attendant growth in social media use by this group," they stated in the letter. "What is less well known is that there is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences."

Apple responded to the letter, pointing out the parental controls it's devices offer: "Apple has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online. We lead the industry by offering intuitive parental controls built right into the operating system," the company said in a statement.

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