Apple responds to concerns over 'smartphone addiction' in children

Investors Urge Apple To Tackle 'Growing' Evidence Of Device Addiction In Kids

CalSTRS Statement Regarding Shareholder Letter to Apple Inc.

Big investors, including Australian superannuation funds, are increasingly using their power to hold companies across the world to higher social standards, as they believe bad environmental, social and governance policies not only harm society, but also the investee company itself.

In a letter, Apple shareholders Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, who according to a Wall Street Journal report together control about $2 billion worth of Apple shares, told the company to make its products safer for the younger users in the US.

The investors control Dollars 2 billion worth of Apple shares, have appealed to the multinational technology giant to take action in order to offer more tools and choices for families to protect their children from the harm can be caused due to smartphones.

"The days of just kind of coming up with technology and throwing it out there", he said, "and 10 years later, seeing what the potentially unintended consequences are, should be over".

"We're able to maybe put limits where we think they're necessary, we're able to give them reminders, and we might be able to set that curfew period". "We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids", the company said. They also want the company to study the effects of heavy usage on mental health.

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Aside from correlations to mental health disorders like social anxiety and depression, recent studies have shown that smartphone addiction costs corporate America around $54B annually in lost productivity.

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.

But that and similarly designed research can not rule out that already troubled teens may be more likely than others to be frequent users of smartphones and social media. At least among "passive" users, Facebook recently admitted it might not be the healthiest pastime.

"CalSTRS has a long-standing, collaborative relationship with Apple, and we look forward to, and offer support, for their ongoing proactive technological developments which align with our investment priorities to reduce risk and increase the profitability of our portfolio".

The letter goes on to cite research that states worrying concerns by teachers, who say that since the explosion of smartphones kids are less focused on their schoolwork and also are less interested in socializing and physical activity.

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