Two major Apple shareholders have issued an open letter urging the iOS device maker to study the impact of heavy usage of devices like the iPhone by teenagers and children. They also asked the Cupertino firm to offer more parental restrictions.
The letter, shared online by Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, suggests that there’s a “growing body of evidence” that for youth with more intense habits, smartphones “may be having unintentional negative consequences.” The groups argue that “growing societal unease” could eventually affect Apple, and that stemming the problem now will aid the company’s shares.
The duo asks Apple to add features to the initial setup of an iPhone to allow parents to set an age and proper limits on screen time, which hours of the day the device can be used, and which social networks can be accessed by the child. Parents would also be able to monitor the child’s usage of the device.
The letter also suggests active monitoring of the issue by an Apple executive, who would also be tasked with producing and publishing annual progress reports.
While Apple already offers some parental restrictions on its iOS devices, they are limited to controlling the ability of children to buy apps, access certain types of content, and the use of location sharing.
The full text of the letter can be viewed here.
Update – 01/09/18: Apple has responded to the investors’ letter, saying it has “new features and enhancements” for its products in the works.
“Apple has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson added, “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.”
(Update via, Bloomberg)