Two major Apple shareholders push for study of iPhone addiction in children

Luke Kawa, Bloomberg:

In a letter to the smartphone maker dated Jan. 6, activist investor Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System urged Apple to create ways for parents to restrict children’s access to their mobile phones. They also want the company to study the effects of heavy usage on mental health.

“There is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences,” according to the letter from the investors, who combined own about $2 billion in Apple shares. The “growing societal unease” is “at some point is likely to impact even Apple.”

“Addressing this issue now will enhance long-term value for all shareholders,” the letter said.

Instinctively, it seems clear to me that heavy smartphone usage does have an impact on your mental health. It changes the social equation, moving communication from one-on-one direct contact to abbreviated, interrupting bursts. It also brings in a steady stream of sensationalized news snippets, exposing you to some information that is false.

This is an issue for children and an issue for everyone.

Is this Apple’s issue to fix?