How often and how long should a kid use his or her smartphone? That is one question that has often been asked by parents.
Two Apple investors – Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) – have brought the issue to the attention of the company and they want the iPhone maker to look into helping parents have more control on phone usage of their children, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The WSJ said Jana and CalSTRS – both of which own a total of $2 billion in Apple stock – wrote to the company and asked the tech giant to come up with new software to aid parents in controlling and limiting phone use.
iPhones, however, already have parental controls.
The two investors also want Apple to study the effect of smartphone overuse on mental health, and they have sought the help of Dr. Jean Twenge of the San Diego State University in the research.
As reported by the WSJ, Jana and CalSTRS “believe both the content and the amount of time spent on phones need to be tailored to youths, and they are raising concern about the public-health effects of failing to act.”
The shareholders cited Twenge’s research about a “growing body of evidence” of “unintentional negative side effects,” and studies showing concerns from teachers.
The concern raised by teachers was cited as a reason why CalSTRS backed the campaign.
Smartphone Overuse and Its Effects
Back in September last year, Twenge wrote on The Atlantic about smartphone overuse and how it has damaged a generation.
Calling those born between 1995 and 2012 as the iGen, Twenge said the iGen is “more vulnerable than Millennials were” and that “rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011.”
“It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”
Two Apple investors have asked the iPhone maker to develop new tools to help parents limit smartphone use by children.
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