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

There is no good reason why you should not address this issue proactively, the shareholders wrote.

Kids with phones
Three teenage girls are lost in the world of smartphone apps and messaging, in Trafalgar Square. While in a very busy environment in the capital’s main square in central London and with the admiring glance of a young man alongside, the teenagers obsessively tweet and message their friends at home, completely unaware of their surroundings, absorbed in the functions of their devices and their young lives. Sitting on the walls of the fountains, they are isolated from each other and the noise around (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Two major Apple shareholders are calling on the company to do more to protect children from the potentially harmful side effects of excessive technology use.

In a letter delivered to Apple on Saturday, representatives from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the investment firm Jana Partners LLC urged the tech giant to address the growing body of evidence that suggests frequent digital-device use can have unintentional negative consequences for children and teens.

We’re not software engineers, and we don’t pretend to be, Charles Penner, a partner at Jana, told HuffPost. And we’re not doctors and we don’t pretend to be. What we’re saying is, hey, software engineers, hey doctors, get together and form a real effort to understand this issue better and go where the research takes you.

Read here Letter From JANA Partners and CalSTRS to Apple Inc. Board

In their letter, representatives of the two investors  ― which collectively control roughly $2 billion worth of Apple shares ― cite several recent studies conducted by universities, medical centers and mental health advocacy groups. Those findings suggest that children who often use smartphones or other digital devices are more likely to be distracted at school, develop depression and sleep less.

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, the letter reads, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally.

Dr. Michael Rich, founder and director of Harvard University’s Center on Media and Child Health, partnered with the investors to help them craft their call to action.

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

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