If you use a smartphone, you know that they can be addictive. How many times a day do you find yourself blindly scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, without even really looking at the updates? Muscle memory dictates that we swipe consistently, when iPhone addiction becomes an unconscious brain trigger that is as glued into our daily routine as brushing our teeth.
But this iPhone addiction isn’t just a source of concern for adults. Now, two activist investors are urging Apple to put some serious thought into how the technology’s addictive tendencies affect kids.
What’s the Motive Behind the Investors’ Plea?
However, it would be difficult to claim that their motives are entirely selfless here. It’s no surprise to anyone that overuse of smartphones is detrimental to a child’s wellbeing, and more movements are cropping up to curb its use. If Apple isn’t the first to come up with a solution, a competitor may find one first instead. Investors Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System wrote a letter to Apple addressing the issue.
“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,” they wrote.
The letter goes onto state that there’s a “developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility.
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iPhone Addiction Has Become an Issue for All Generations
As a whole, our society does seem to be becoming more conscious of how technology and humanity interact. While many social media sites and tech advances were intended to help us connect, they’ve often done the opposite. Oftentimes, our screens drive us further apart. How many times have you gone to a restaurant only to see seemingly happy couples staring into their laps, embracing iPhone addiction over the person right in front of them?
And for children, connecting on social media can be an extremely detrimental way to engage with peers. That’s why movements like the Wait until 8th movement have cropped up, encouraging parents to hold off on getting their kids smartphones.
The founders of products in smart technology are intelligent. So intelligent, in fact, that they’ve actually programmed software that makes them addictive. Each time you use your phone, it triggers a surge of dopamine in your brain. That chemical reaction creates the drive to keep coming back for more. And while that’s frightening in users of any age, it’s especially dangerous among young, susceptible minds.
“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” said Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker to Axios.
And it isn’t just investors and other tech moguls who have denounced the use of smart technology amongst children. Steve Jobs himself famously said in a 2010 interview that he kids were not allowed to use the iPad at home. “We think it’s too dangerous for them.”
If that’s not a red flag, what is?
So what are the Apple investors suggesting they do? They say that iPhones should be tailored to the young mind, and are urging the company to do more research on the matter. They’re also asking that Apple develop tools to allow parents to set limits on time and usage.
“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,” the letter continues.
Apple has not yet commented publicly on the investor’s letter.
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Data Source: nbcnews.com