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Apple called on to aid smartphone addiction

Many large investors have called on Apple, telling them to develop a software that limits how long children can spend of their smartphones, the request follows an increase in parents who are worrying about the amount of time their children spend on their phones.

The request began with a call from two big investment groups that hold £1.48bn of Apple stock between them. A letter was sent to the maker of the IPhone on the weekend of the 6th calling for digital locks. This letter had been signed by Jana Partners and a teachers’ pension fund in California.

Many academics have welcomed this request for change after studying the younger generation’s use of technology.

The letter asked Apple to consider the drastic impact that the excessive use of smartphones has on the mental health of young people.

It also highlighted a number of studies which suggest a lot of phone use can disrupt lessons, hinder their ability to concentrate on their school work, and leave them sleep deprived.

There was also a mention of how a heavy use of social media can lead to low self-esteem and can possibly be linked to childhood depression.

Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System have concerns that if Apple does not deal with these growing worries, it could damage its reputation and its stock market value.

These investors acknowledge that many factors are at play in the mental health of young people. But state that it would ‘defy common sense’ to ignore the link with high levels of phone use.

Apple has responded to this call by releasing a statement saying that they have ‘always looked out for kids’.

Apple also stated that ‘we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online. We lead the industry by offering intuitive parental controls built right into the operating system’.

They went on to say that ‘with today’s iOS devices, parents have the ability to control and restrict content including apps, movies, websites, songs, and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features. Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent’.

This leaves the question as to whether Apple intends to take on these concerns open.

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