Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Apple to enable enhanced protection of children

Apple to enable enhanced protection of children

Asking Apple to help wean children and young adults off their products - or, better yet, to prevent them from getting addicted to smartphones in the first place - is somewhat like asking Chick-fil-a to make their fries less delicious, so customers will buy them less often.

Though Tech Crunch claimed this "represents a tiny fraction of its current $898 billion market cap", they added that, "The letter is noteworthy, however, because both investors are influential activist shareholders", explaining that, "Jana Partners managing director Barry Rosenstein pushed Whole Foods to put itself up for sale before the grocery chain's acquisition by Amazon past year, while CalSTRS, which manages retirement benefits for public educators in California, is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States".

Addressing this issue now would enhance the value of Apple in the long-term for all shareholders, the two large shareholders contend.

REUTERS/Thomas PeterMajor Apple shareholders calls on Apple to address issue of excessive smarthphone use among children and teenagers. Especially 8th grade students are the most heavily into social media devices and they require the utmost care with this potentially addictive technology.

In fact, another recent study found that 48 percent of teens who are online for more than five hours a day are at risk for depression or thinking about suicide.

Stanton says screen time also impacts sleep.

JANA and CalSTRS proposed that Apple could begin by introducing an "expanded" setup menu where parents could key in the age of the iPhone user and the advisable time limit of smartphone use based on their time zones.

"Some may argue that the research is not definitive, that other factors are also at work, and that in any case parents must take ultimate responsibility for their children".

In her statement, Sheehan summed up the demands of the letter.

Half of teenagers in the USA 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. "Over time, if a child's screen-time use means spending too little time on activities that are critical for development - such as completing homework, playing sports or socializing with friends - that child can fall behind peers in these critical areas and can develop low self-esteem and anxiety or withdrawal when faced with situations that test competence in these areas".

The investors said that although Apple has a "unique role in the history of innovation", the company could be doing more to help mitigate the risk of unhealthy levels of smartphone use in children.

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