No, Apple Is Not Responsible For Your Kids’ Smartphone Addiction
Apple is now coming under fire from two big investors for not doing enough to curb childhood addiction to smartphones. What’s next? Government warnings and a class-action lawsuit against Big Smartphone.
In an “open letter” to Apple, Janus Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System — which combined own roughly $2 billion in Apple stock — scolded Apple for failing to “take steps” to curb overuse of smartphones by children.
The letter goes on at great length citing research into the harmful effects of too much smartphone use — from increased risk of depression and suicide risk to sleep and learning problems.
No doubt rampant overuse poses a problem for some children. But such grand proclamations about the impending disaster of our youth should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
Experts have been predicting that one outside force or another was ruining the next generation of children, whether it was comic books — in the 1950s, the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency held hearings on the evils of comic books — rock music, television, video games. Yet somehow, most children manage to make it adulthood.
Nevertheless, Janus and CalSTRS have decided that Apple should set up an “expert committee,” sponsor research, create “new tools and options,” and take other steps to control this addiction epidemic.
“There is,” they say, “a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner”
A “clear need”?