On Monday, two investors sent Apple an open letter stating that they want to see the tech giant doing more to prevent smartphone addiction among children.

The New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California-based Teachers’ Retirement System have brought their concerns about the negative impact devices and social media are having on the youth to Apple.

“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,”

They suggested that Apple should offer a variety of choices and tools to help children fight smartphone addiction, which they believe will help Apple and its shareholders in the future. Some of the proposals suggested to Apple were to establish an expert committee including child development specialists, offer Apple’s vast information to researchers, and enhance mobile device software so parents can better protect their children’s health.

The letter also cited various surveys and studies on how large amounts of time on smartphones can cause negative affects on children’s mental and physical health such as a decreased ability to focus on educational tasks, distractions by digital technologies in the classroom, and a higher risk of suicide and depression.

  • Also, teens who spend 5 or more hours a day (versus less than 1) on electronic devices are 51% more likely to get less than 7 hours of sleep (versus the recommended 9).  Sleep deprivation is linked to long-term issues like weight gain and high blood pressure.[iv]

  • A study by UCLA researchers showed that after 5 days at a device-free outdoor camp, children performed far better on tests for empathy than a control group.[v]

  • According to an American Psychological Association (APA) survey of over 3,500 U.S. parents, 58% say they worry about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health, 48% say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle,” and 58% say they feel like their child is “attached” to their phone or tablet

To read the entire letter, you can head here.


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