Apple promises more parental controls amid addiction concerns

  • Apple promises more parental controls amid addiction concerns

Apple promises more parental controls amid addiction concerns

Newer reports nevertheless point out that Apple has finally responded to the investors' demand for iPhone Addiction in Kids.

Consumers shouldn't count on Apple redesigning its phones and tablets to make them less addictive for kids, say experts, who caution that good parenting may be the only solution to keep children from staring too long at screens. Without directly commenting on the letter, Apple said it has been offering extensive parental controls since as early as 2008.

Clinical psychologist and Cal State East Bay professor Michael Stanton says there are impacts.

In a letter to the smartphone maker dated January 6, activist investor Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System urged Apple to create more ways for parents to restrict children's access to their mobile phones.

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 a year ago, while CalSTRS, which manages retirement benefits for public educators in California, is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States". We hope that they rise to the challenge!

"Regardless, a smart device company attempting to curb the use of its smart devices seems kinda like Marlborough telling people to ease up on the cigs..." there's a pretty obvious conflict of interest. Jim Steyer, chief executive officer of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that promotes safe technology use for children, called the letter a "hugely important development" in curbing "digital addiction".

In the letter, Jana and CalSTRS said confronting the issue of smartphone addiction would, in the long run, enhance the value of the company for all shareholders.

"I think it's the scale of the use and the ubiquity and pervasiveness".

"While there are apps that offer more options, there are a dizzying array of them (which often leads people to make no choice at all), it is not clear what research has gone into developing them, few if any offer the full array of options that the research would suggest, and they are clearly no substitute for Apple putting these choices front and centre for parents".

Apple has long marketed itself as a company that believes in family values and that creates "safe" products parents can trust, says Bearse.

"You could come at it with a cynical commercial lens of saying they want to continue the iPhone-user pipeline to be as young as they can get".