Investors to Apple Fight iPhone addictiapple phoneon among kids
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In an emailed statement, Apple did not address specific concerns from the two investors but said it has been offering parental controls on its products since .
The investors pointed to a number of studies highlighting the detrimental effects of smartphone addiction. They includebeing less attentive in class, insufficient sleep and ahigher risk of depressionand suicide.
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California State Teachers Retirement System, known as Calstrs, and hedge fund Jana manage hundreds of billions of dollars between them.
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Investors to Apple Fight iPhone addiction among kids
The tech companys shares have gained roughly in the past months, significantly outperforming the broader SP index.
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In anopen letter posted onlinethis weekend, the two shareholders called on Apple to set an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers. They want the company to add more sophisticated parental controls to its devices limit the time children can spend on them and what content they can access.
The funds do, however, have some highprofile names backing their cause. Jana said it had set up an advisory board on socalledimpact investingthat includes rock star Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. Impact investing seeks to make a profit while bringing about positive social change.
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, the letter said.
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Jana has had success with activist campaigns in the past, although these have focused on boosting its investments bottom line.
Shortly before Whole Foods sale toAmazonAMZNfor . billion last year, CEO John Mackey slammed Jana as greedy.
Tech companies have shown a willingness to change their products to accommodate parents concerns.
As an investor in Whole Foods, itpublicly pressured the retail chainto improve financial performance and shake up its board.
Apple highlighted controls that restrict access to inappropriate content, adding that it was constantly looking for ways to make our experiences better.
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The letter calls for Apple to research and develop more sophisticated parental controls for phones, criticizing whats available at the moment.
Should you be concerned about smartphone addiction?
California State Teachers Retirement System and Jana Partners two major funds that own about billion inAppleAAPLstock between them are pressuring the tech giant to take a stronger stance on the mental health effects of excessive smartphone use by children and teenagers.
We are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids, the statement said.
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A highlevel executive should track Apples progress in the matter and issue a report on it each year, the letter proposed.
But how much clout the pair will have with Apple financially is uncertain, given the relatively small value of their shareholdings. Apples total market capitalization is almost billion.
Apples current limited set of parental controls in ct dictate a more binary, all or nothing approach, with parental options limited largely to shutting down or allowing full access to various tools and functions, it says.
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Two heavyweight investors say Apple should do more to combat iPhone addiction among young people.
Facebook released anew version of its messenger applast year thats suile for children aged to .
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Its an unorthodox campaign for investors to adopt, but the two funds say addressing these issues now could benefit Apple and its shareholders in the future.
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