Are iPhones Bad for Kids? Two Investors Are Urging Apple to Investigate

Tech firms should care about your kids getting addicted to their phones

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.

The investors stated that it is their belief that "addressing this issue now by offering parents more tools and choices could enhance Apple's business and increase demand for its products".

The letter argues that Apple could benefit "helping to protect the next generation of leaders, innovators, and customers tomorrow".

Apple might be in the hot seat right now, but the United States, on the whole, has been late to the game on preventative measures to curb overuse.

Apple responded to the shareholders by saying the company is "committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids", according to a statement sent to CNNMoney.

The letter said that Apple should take notice of their devices leading to growing public health crisis of smartphone addiction in young people. Apple said that parents can block or restrict things they don't want their children to see or download. The letter cites research showing teachers say that as smartphones have become more prevalent, their students have become less focused on education and have more emotional and social challenges, and that teenagers that spend a lot of time on electronic devices and on social media are more likely to be depressed or suicidal than those who don't.

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"Professor Twenge's research shows that USA teenagers who spend 3 hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely, and those who spend 5 hours or more are 71 percent more likely, to have a risk factor for suicide than those who spend less than 1 hour", the letter states.

Stanton says screen time also impacts sleep.

Both said that Apple should establish a committee of experts to examine the issue, and allow parents to block certain social media channels, set a user age on devices from the outset and introduce limited screen-time options. That's precisely where big tech companies like Apple can intervene on behalf of children. That number is 66 percent higher than teens who only use their phones for one hour a day, according to the Deseret News.

The addiction issue gained notoriety when former Disney child star Selena Gomez said she cancelled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem - feelings she linked to a social media addiction.

Child development specialists are pretty concerned about the fallout from smartphones.

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