Investors want Apple to protect kids from smartphone addiction

Andrew Cummings
January 13, 2018

"We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust", the company said in a statement released to news outlets.

While their stake in the company is less than one percent, the letter itself could affect other investors and banks.

In their letter, representatives of the two investors ― which collectively control roughly $2 billion worth of Apple shares ― cite several recent studies conducted by universities, medical centers and mental health advocacy groups. The managing partner of Jana, Barry Rosenstein, told the Times: "As more and more founders of the biggest tech companies are acknowledging today, the days of just throwing technology out there and washing your hands of the potential impact are over".

"We're able to maybe put limits where we think they're necessary, we're able to give them reminders, and we might be able to set that curfew period".

In an Open Letter (via USToday) to Apple, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System have shown their interest in Apple doing something about this negative trend.

"We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids", Apple said. This also includes parental education on the available research and options available to help them make more informed decisions on their child's device usage.

Children's distraction in the classroom has increased while their ability to focus on educational tasks has decreased.

From a study published back in November, social media exposure and overuse of smartphones are some of the major contributions to depression (apart from other suicidal traits) among youngsters and teens.

But that and similarly designed research can not rule out that already troubled teens may be more likely than others to be frequent users of smartphones and social media.

Facebook's founding president, Sean Parker, also warned recently that the company exploits a "vulnerability in human psychology" to addict its users.

However, Jana Partners and CalSTRS argued earlier this week that considering users' well-being is ultimately the best thing for Apple's bottom-line.

Half of teenagers in the US feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones and report feeling pressure to immediately respond to phone messages, according to a 2016 survey of children and their parents by Common Sense Media.

Other reports by iNewsToday