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Bill Gates: My kids get cell phone at age 13

Posted by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM
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1 mom liked this

Bill Gates: My kids get cell phone at age 13

Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men, faces the same problems at home that all parents do — like dealing with cell phone privileges.

“We’ve chosen in our family that it’s 13 where you get a phone. And you’re still a little bit limited,” Gates, the father of three children, including two teenagers, said Wednesday on TODAY. “They’re always coming home, ‘All the other kids have it. I’m the only one without it, it’s so embarrassing.’”

The admission brought some relief to Matt Lauer. "You just bought me two years, you realize that, right?” he said.

Lauer then asked whether he keeps the passwords to his children’s electronic accounts. Gates said he doesn’t — at least for his 16-year-old daughter.

Related: Bill Gates recalls his 'spontaneous' first date with wife

“She’s independent,” he said, acknowledging, “that’s always a very tricky issue for parents now.”

Gates, who was listed as the world’s second-richest billionaire by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $61 billion, said spending his money on his philanthropy work is as exciting as earning his first several million dollars from the software company he created.

“What you really feel is what you’ve achieved. If a piece of software gets out there and lots of people love it — it lets them get their work done in better ways — that’s exciting,” the Microsoft founder said. “When polio finally gets eradicated sometime in the next six years, that will feel extremely good.”

Watch video: Bill Gates predicts 'electronic mail' in 1992

Gates and his wife, Melinda, have given away $28 billion through their charitable foundation, both domestically to improve education and internationally to improve global health and nutrition.

One of their foundation’s top goals, described in its annual letter released Wednesday, is to completely eradicate polio, which was eliminated in India last year.

“Getting India done was a huge milestone," he said, but admitted, "It’s going to take a lot of money to finish it, about $6 billion more.”

The disease is still a problem in three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Gates said eradicating it there will take more than throwing money at the problem: “It’s not check writing.”

It will take the use of satellite maps and GPS trackers to make sure vaccination teams are getting to the right spots, particularly in rural areas, he said. In addition to the technology, political negotiations will be crucial to make sure world leaders make the issue is a priority and put the necessary organizational structure in place to distribute the medicine. 

Smallpox is the only disease to have been eliminated by human effort.

"We want to make this the second disease ever eradicated," he said.

For more information on the Gates Foundation's annual letter, click here.

North West Passage

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM
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Replies (1-10):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:04 PM

“We’ve chosen in our family that it’s 13 where you get a phone. And you’re still a little bit limited,” Gates, the father of three children, including two teenagers, said Wednesday on TODAY. “They’re always coming home, ‘All the other kids have it. I’m the only one without it, it’s so embarrassing.’”

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:04 PM

I agree with him on this

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM

I think that's fair.

Piskie
by Bronze Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:09 PM
1 mom liked this
He's a damm good human being.
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heybooboo
by Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Our kids will not get cell phones until they are 14. 

I like Bill Gates.  He and his wife are great people.

IhartU
by Gold Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:44 PM

 My kids can get one when they can afford to pay for it by themselves. We don't have cell phones.

soonergirl980
by Silver Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:49 PM
My kids were 12 but i think the yougest will get it earlier. He is a great person both him and his wife.
krysstizzle
by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:53 PM
1 mom liked this

I really want to like him and the Gates Foundation. After they poured so much money into GMO crops in Africa, though? Yeah, I just can't...

Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM
My daughter got one after the school sent her home with the bus, when she was supposed to go to after school care! The second time they did it, she was able to call me, and the bus driver took her back to school! We both worked, and I did not want to risk my child's well being.
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Whatever works for his family. For my family it worked for my oldest to get a phone at 8 and my youngest to get one at 6.
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