Apple Investors Sound Alarm Over Products' 'Consequences'

They're worried about iPhone's impact on kids
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2018 5:32 AM CST
Apple Investors Warn About Kids' Smartphone Addictions
An 11-year-old girl logs into Facebook on her iPhone at her home in Palo Alto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Apple needs to do something about the "unintentional negative consequences" its products are having on children, two of the company's investors warn. In an open letter, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which own about $2 billion in Apple stock between them, call for the company to work on ways for parents to restrict children's access to iPhones and to study the impact of smartphone addiction on young people's mental health, the Wall Street Journal reports. They warn of "growing societal unease" about the issue and cite studies showing that young people who are frequent users of smartphones suffer sleep deprivation and have a much higher risk of suffering from depression.

Most parents try to manage children's use of technology, but "it is both unrealistic and a poor long-term business strategy to ask parents to fight this battle alone," the investors write. "Imagine the goodwill Apple can generate with parents by partnering with them in this effort." They add: "Addressing this issue now will enhance long-term value for all shareholders." The steps they suggest include creating a wider variety of setup options for users of different ages. An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the letter, Bloomberg reports. Mashable reports that the investors are working with psychologist Jean Twenge from San Diego State University, who has warned about a mental-health crisis in the "iGen" born between 1995 and 2012. (Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to fix Facebook's issues in 2018.)

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