Microsoft founder Bill Gates has opened up about being a parent, stating that 13 is an appropriate age for a child's first cell phone.
The 57-year-old, father-of-three revealed on the Today show that his children Jennifer and Rory were not allowed phones until their thirteenth birthday and his youngest daughter Phoebe is still waiting for one.
'We’ve chosen in our family that it’s 13 where you get a phone,' the self-made billionaire explained. He said as a result his brood often return home from school complaining: 'All the other kids have it. I’m the only one without it, it’s so embarrassing.'
Asked if he keeps passwords to his son and daughters' email and Facebook accounts, Mr Gates said that he doesn’t for Jennifer, 16, who he describes as 'independent'.
He admitted that monitoring online activity is 'a very tricky issue for parents now.'
Despite their vast wealth Mr and Mrs Gates, who live in Lake Medina, just outside Seattle, Washington, have said they want to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible.
It was previously reported that their youngsters have to complete household chores and are given a modest amount of pocket money.
And in 2010 Mr Gates said that he intends to give most of his $61billlion fortune away rather than hand it down.
'That wouldn’t be good either for my kids or society,' he said.
Also during the Today interview with host Matt Lauer, Mr Gates, who stepped down from Microsoft in 2008 to concentrate on philanthropy, said that helping others gives him same buzz as creating software.
'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,' he explained.
'When polio finally gets eradicated sometime in the next six years, that will feel extremely good.'
Mr Gates was previously the richest man in the world, but he got shifted down a spot in 2010 after he decided to give away $28billion to good causes.
The Gateses, who will celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary next year, now focus their efforts on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims at improving healthcare and reducing poverty worldwide.
One of their top goals, described in an annual letter recently released, is to completely eradicate polio, which was eliminated in India last year.
Talking about his future aims Mr Gates said: 'Getting India done was a huge milestone. It’s going to take a lot of money to finish it, about $6 billion more.'
While smallpox is the only disease to have been eliminated by human effort, Mr Gates said that he wants to make polio the second.
There are now only three countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria - which are still affected by the disease.
Source: Daily Mail - http://goo.gl/wl9yr