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Apple Urged to Deal With Smartphone Addiction

Christine Law, Staff Writer

In the 21st  century, it is no surprise that almost everyone uses a smartphone on a daily basis. Acute reliance on technology is especially apparent in teenagers and younger children. As a result, many parents and educators worry about their growing addiction to technology. This issue was brought to light in a petition directed toward a major smart-technology producer, developer, and seller: Apple Inc. Among this company’s various smart devices are the convenient and portable iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple Watch, and more. Each of these items allows its user to access the Internet and social media, communicate with others, and play games. The gadgets’ addictive and time-consuming nature has caused many to be unable to thrive without technology for less than a few hours.

On Jan. 8, two major investors of Apple with $2 billion worth of shares penned an open letter to the company, asking it to deal with technology dependency. The investors, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), both stated that they wanted the company to provide additional tools and services to preserve the mental health of its younger users. According to the two investors, “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.” Although they did not directly place the blame of technology reliance on Apple, they still hope for action to be taken by the leading technology company.

The investors called for the company to set an example for others and “play a defining role in signalling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.” The letter outlines a plan that the investors hope Apple will adopt. Some key points include hiring children development specialists, allowing user data to be given to researchers, adding more options for parental control over children’s’ devices, educating families, and creating an annual report on its progress on curbing technology addiction.

The long term effects of technology on people may not be recognized daily, but concerns slowly grow as people bring up possible consequences of using devices too often. Presently, Apple has few options that contribute to the solution to smartphone addiction, which includes several parental controls over the duration of time that apps can be used or the type of apps that can be used. In a recent statement, Apple responded by ensuring that it would add more tools to help parents in the future.

Photo courtesy of COMPUTERWORLD.COM


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Apple Urged to Deal With Smartphone Addiction