Two of Apple’s investors – Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CALSTRTS) – have written letters to the company expressing concern about kids and their iPhone addiction. Together, the investors own a stake of around $2 billion in Apple shares.
“It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally,” wrote Barry Rosenstein, Managing Partner of Jana, and Anne Sheehan, Head of Corporate Governance at CALSTRTS.
In the letter, they mentioned findings from a survey conducted by the Center on Media and Child Health and the University of Alberta. Per the results from the survey,
- The average American teenager gets his or her first smartphone at age 10 and spends more than 4.5 hours a day on it—excluding texting and talking.
- Nearly 80% of teens check their phones hourly, and more than half report feeling addicted to their devices.
The investors wrote that while parents do have an important role when it comes to managing their kids’ screen time, they think that Apple does too. “We believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner,” the duo concluded.
In the letter, not only did they ask Apple to take some action on this issue, but they provided a few recommendations of their own:
- Add a menu in a device’s initial setup options where parents could enter a kid’s age and receive recommendations on everything from screen-time limits to appropriate social media sites.
- Produce a progress report on how kids are using technology.
“We believe that addressing this issue now will enhance long-term value for all shareholders, by creating more choices and options for your customers today and helping to protect the next generation of leaders, innovators, and customers tomorrow,” the investors wrote.
How and when Apple responds to these concerns is yet to be determined.