Technology

Apple says it will introduce new features to help parents protect children

Apple says it will introduce new features to help parents protect children

"We specifically ask that Apple form a committee of experts and specialists to research and study this issue and monitor ongoing developments in technology", the letter said.

Their motives aren't purely about what's best for little kids: If Apple doesn't figure out how to solve this problem, one of its competitors might.

The investor, the Journal said, is planning to raise billions of dollars to launch a new fund, Jana Impact Capital, to invest in companies that should be "better corporate citizens".

Two activist investors are urging Apple to take steps to curb how addictive iPhones are to children.

Chamath Palihapitiya, vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011 is likewise disavowing the very products and customer-retention techniques he used to spearhead.

That smartphones have altered our society-often in a bad way-has been brain-dead obvious for years.

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- An American Psychological Association survey that found that of over 3,500 US parents, 58% say they worry about the influence of social media on their child's physical and mental health; 48% say regulating their child's screen time is a "constant battle"; and 58% say they feel like their child is "attached" to their phone or tablet. The company also says, however, that it has "new features and enhancements" planned for the future to improve parental controls. The letter represents a new source of pressure on Apple, after being forced to apologise last month for slowing down older iPhone models.

With many apps, sites and devices being created to be as addictive as possible to grow user numbers and maintain eyeballs on screens, children are increasingly being either seen as collateral damage or specifically targeted as the next generation of users.

The investors want Apple out front in attempting to learn what is optimal usage and in simplifying parental controls. Parents can also prevent iOS devices from displaying content with explicit language, sexual content, or limited by age-specific ratings across movies, TV shows, and apps.

The investors call is the latest in a series of Silicon Valley insiders voicing concerns over the long-term impact of technology on children. "Apple can play a defining role in signaling 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". Apple isn't exclusively to blame, given the availability of social-media apps, but it was also urged to conduct research into heavy use on young mental health. The investors cited a recent study by the Center on Media and Child Health and the University of Alberta, according to which teachers observed that students are negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom.

The phone addiction issue got a high-profile boost from the former Disney child star Selena Gomez, 24, who said she cancelled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to her addiction to social media and the mobile photo-sharing app Instagram.

An American Psychological Association survey that found that of over 3,500 USA parents, 58 percent say they worry about the influence of social media on their child's physical and mental health; 48 percent say regulating their child's screen time is a "constant battle"; and 58 percent say they feel like their child is "attached" to their phone or tablet.


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