Should Apple Restrict Child and Teen Use?

Investors say it will affect future profits if they do not give better restriction options.

A couple major investors in Apple have called on the company to do something to help parents restrict smartphone use by their children.

JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System have released an open letter to Apple asking that the creator of the iPhone “offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner.” They say that, “[b]y doing so, we believe Apple would once again be playing a pioneering role, this time by setting an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers.”

In the letter, they note research that highlights the harmful effects of children and teens being on their devices too much. But, they don’t think that the answer is an “all or nothing” approach and note that is what Apple offers now.

Instead, Apple should offer ways for parents to allow their children the “the developmentally optimal amount and type of access, particularly given the educational benefits mobile devices can offer“. The group notes research that shows teenagers who use the device one hour or less a day are happier than teens who do not use devices at all.

They recognize that there are many aps and programs that can help restrict usage but still think Apple needs to lead on this, for the sake of profits, saying:

“In the case of Apple, we believe the long-term health of its youngest customers and the health of society, our economy, and the Company itself, are inextricably linked, and thus the only difference between the changes we are advocating at Apple now and the type of change shareholders are better known for advocating is the time period over which they will enhance and protect value [of the company].”


CLICK HERE to read the whole letter.

What do you think? Should Apple have better built-in restriction options for parents and their children?