Shareholders Urge Apple to Tackle Smartphone Addiction
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Two of Apple’s institutional shareholders have published an open letter calling for the company to do more to tackle the problem of smartphone addiction. Especially with regard to how it affects younger iPhone users. And while Apple could ignore this letter, it would be risky to do so.

Smartphones are addictive Cut Back on Smartphone Usage With These 7 Apps Cut Back on Smartphone Usage With These 7 Apps Sick of constantly wasting your time on your phone? There are ways to fix that. Read More . They offer myriad ways to be entertained, whether via mobile gaming, social networking, or just scouring the web. And yet young children are being handed smartphones and given carte blanche to use them as and when they want Extreme Digital Addiction Is Destroying Kids' Lives Around the Globe Extreme Digital Addiction Is Destroying Kids' Lives Around the Globe With children in all corners of the globe becoming immersed in technology from ever-younger ages, it's about time we reflected on the startling impact this is having on their development. Read More . This is dangerous.

Help Parents Help Their Kids

Institutional shareholders JANA Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) have published an open letter calling on Apple to stop the minds of our youngsters being turned to rot by technology, I’m paraphrasing, of course, but this isn’t far from the truth.

In the open letter, the shareholders state, “we believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner.” Which would be “setting an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers.”

The letter then highlights the “unintentional negative consequences” Apple products may be having on “the most frequent young users.” These include developing emotional and social challenges, increasing instances of depression and the risk of suicide, and sleep deprivation. None of which should be what any of us want for our children.

So, what should Apple do? The investors suggest Apple’s parental controls “dictate a more binary, all or nothing approach, with parental options limited largely to shutting down or allowing full access to various tools and functions.” So there should be an expert committee convened, more research undertaken, new tools and options for parents, education, and reporting.

Apple Should Heed This Advice

Apple has yet to respond, but, like all public companies, Apple is beholden to its shareholders The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Apple: A Brief History The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Apple: A Brief History The success of Apple indeed lies with their attitude of "Thinking Differently". While the company may not have always been heralded as a success, their strength over the years has come from great vision and... Read More . So when shareholders who hold billions of dollars worth of shares speak, Apple should listen. Especially when what these shareholders are saying is eminently sensible and rather important.

Are you an Apple shareholder? If so, how do you feel about this open letter calling on Apple to tackle smartphone addiction? Do you think Apple is at least partly responsible? Or should this all be pinned on the parents of addicted youngsters? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: R. Nial Bradshaw via Flickr

Explore more about: Addiction, Apple, iPhone, Parenting and Technology.

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  1. Bob Becker
    January 9, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    lol.i wouldn't blame the phone,i would blame the parents,chances are they bought the phone for the children and are paying for it,that isn't Apple or any cell phone makers fault

    • Jonathan
      January 12, 2018 at 5:04 am

      Fair enough Bob, but people are also failing to moderate their own use as adults. I am all for. whatever can be done to bring people back to the real world.