Apple has been told by two of its shareholders to take immediate action to tackle children’s smartphone addiction, amid fears that technology could be damaging the young generation.
The shareholders, New York-based Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, said in an open letter to Apple that the company must offer more choices and tools to help children fight addiction to its devices. The two investors collectively control $2 billion worth of Apple shares.
“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.”
Some of the ideas they proposed include: establishing an expert committee including child development specialists; offering Apple’s vast information to researchers; and enhancing mobile device software so that parents have more options to protect their children’s health.
Phone addiction is steadily rising as many children now have access to smartphones including iPhone and spend hours surfing them. Hence, it will be a welcome development if Apple yields to this call.