Investors Want Apple To Help Curb Kids' Smartphone Addiction

Investors Want Apple To Help Curb Kids' Smartphone Addiction

Two shareholders, holding $2 billion in Apple shares between them, have urged the company to allow greater parental control, including limiting screen time Two large shareholders urged Apple to study whether iPhones are proving addictive for children and that intensive use of the smartphones may be bad for their mental health.

In an open letter to the technology giant, New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, highlighted increasing concern about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.

Research showing eighth graders who are heavy users of social media have a 27 percent higher risk of depression, while those who exceed the average time spent playing sports, hanging out with friends, or doing homework have a much lower risk. The letter represents a new source of pressure on Apple, after being forced to apologise last month for slowing down older iPhone models.

While some have questioned whether phones and tablets are any more alluring than television or video games were to kids in the earliest days of those technologies, Morrison argues portability is the distinctive factor. Almost 80 percent of teens check their phones hourly, and more than half report feeling addicted to their devices.

Fadell was on the team that worked on the first iPhone and is one of the key inventors of the iPod.

- A study by the Center on Media and Child Health and the University of Alberta that found that 67% of the over 2,300 teachers surveyed observed that the number of students who are negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom is growing and 75% say students' ability to focus on educational tasks has decreased.

He wrote on Twitter: "Apple Watches, Google Phones, Facebook, Twitter - they've gotten so good at getting us to go for another click, another dopamine hit".

"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".

Penner said they're going after Apple because it is a leader in innovation and sets a standard for the rest of the industry.

The company pointed to existing parental controls built into iOS that help parents moderate content including apps, websites, movies, songs, and books.

Any major improvement to the parental controls in iOS is unlikely to debut until at least June, when Apple holds its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and it could come later given the company's standard development cycles for new features.

We began delivering these controls for iPhone in 2008 with the introduction of the App Store, building on what we'd learned from offering similar features for the Mac a few years before iPhone was introduced. Of course, we are constantly looking for ways to make our experiences better.

You used to be able to rip your kid out from in front of the TV and say, 'Come on, we're going grocery shopping, ' but now they won't even get in the vehicle without saying, 'Can I play with your phone?' "We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids".