Investors urge Apple to take action against child gadget addiction

Investors cite various studies and surveys on how the heavy usage of smartphones negatively affects children’s mental and physical health

Two major Apple investors have urged the iPhone maker to take action to curb growing smartphone addiction among children, highlighting growing concern about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.

New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, said Monday in open letter to Apple that the company must offer more choices and tools to help children fight addiction to its devices.

“There is a developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility,” the letter said. “Apple can play a defining role in signalling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.”

The two investors collectively control $2 billion worth of Apple shares.

Among their proposals to Apple: establish an expert committee including child development specialists; offer Apple’s vast information to researchers; and enhance mobile device software so that parents have more options to protect their children’s health.

The letter cited various studies and surveys on how the heavy usage of smartphones and social media negatively affects children’s mental and physical health. Examples include distractions by digital technologies in the classroom, a decreased ability of students to focus on educational tasks, and higher risks of suicide and depression.

The investors’ call reflects growing concerns around the world about what the long-term impact will be of using mobile devices and social media, especially for those who start to use smartphones at an early age.

While tech companies have not acknowledged openly that their gadgets may be addictive, some Silicon Valley insiders have begun to speak to media about how gadgets, mobile applications and social media sites are designed to be addictive and to keep users’ attention as long as possible.


Link to the letter.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lacombe Generals punch their ticket to Allan Cup

6-1 win over Stony Plain finishes off series in 5 games

Local Legions will be presenting the award-winning play Jake’s Gift

Acclaimed play has received rave reviews from critics and audience members alike

WATCH: What’s Up Wednesday – March 21st

A summary of the week’s news

Innisfail RCMP arrests two

Suspects attempted to flee but their vehicle got stuck in the snow

WATCH: What’s Up Wednesday – March 21st

A summary of the week’s news

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Starbucks to unveil latest creation: crystal ball frappuccino

The limited-edition drink will be available starting March 22

Two arrested in Leduc County after Thorsby RCMP drive by rural break-in in progress

Thorsby RCMP prevent break and enter, find other stolen property

Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook data whistleblower in 2016: source

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to the National Public Alerting System

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in

Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago.

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Most Read