On Tuesday, we reported that two major investors sent an open letter to Apple regarding smartphone addiction among children. The Cupertino-based company has responded to the letter stating that they have always looked out for children.
Shareholders Jana Partners and California teacher pension investor CalTRS expressed their concerns about children’s addiction to smartphones and the negative affects it causes. They suggested a few ways for Apple to fix this problem such as Apple creating a software that allows parents to limit children’s phone usage.
Apple responded to the letter a few days later informing the shareholders that the company has allowed parents to control which apps, movies, games, and content can be accessed by children since 2008.
“We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them,” Apple said. “We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”
It’s been reported that half of the teenagers in the U.S. feel as if they are addicted to their smartphone and feel the pressure to respond immediately to phone messages. Other studies have found that children who are addicted to their smartphone have a higher rate of depression and suicide.
Here’s Apple’s full response:
Apple has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online. We lead the industry by offering intuitive parental controls built right into the operating system.
With today’s iOS devices, parents have the ability to control and restrict content including apps, movies, websites, songs and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features. Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent.
We began delivering these controls for iPhone in 2008 with the introduction of the App Store, building on what we’d learned from offering similar features for the Mac a few years before iPhone was introduced. We also have a long history of curating our content platforms to make sure they are free of offensive material, such as pornography, and clearly labeled so parents can determine if an app, movie or song is age-appropriate. Of course, we are constantly looking for ways to make our experiences better. We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.
We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.
We’ll see what new features Apple has planned to better address this issue.