Apple Under Fire for Promoting Children’s Smartphone Addiction
If you have a young child, you no doubt worry they are spending too much time staring at their smartphone or tablet. The truth is, there is a lot we still do not understand about how long-term use of these portable devices–and exposure to the radio frequency energy fields they generate–negatively impact our children’s mind and even bodies. There is currently a growing body of scientific literature that suggests cell phone addiction negatively affects a teenager’s ability to maintain focus and control. Addiction can also lead our children to develop more serious mental health problems, including insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Company Promises New Parental Controls in Response to Criticism
One of the world’s largest cell phone manufacturers, Apple, has faced renewed scrutiny recently for its role in promoting cell phone addiction among children. Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive, said in a recent series of social media posts that “[d]evice addiction is real” and noted that technology companies have “gotten so good at getting us to go for another click, another dopamine hit.” Fadell said Apple and social media companies “have a responsibility [and] need to start helping us track & manage our digital addictions across all usages.”
Along those lines, on January 8, 2018, two of Apple’s largest institutional shareholders sent an open letter to the company’s management demanding it take more responsibility in helping parents limit their children’s access to smartphones. Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which collectively own about $2 billion of Apple’s stock, said in its letter that “there is 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.” The letter cited research that showed the average U.S. teenager received their first smartphone at the age of 10 and spends “over 4.5 hours a day” using the device.
The institutional shareholders advised Apple to convene a committee of experts to “help study this issue and monitor ongoing developments in technology,” as well as implement software changes. Apple has already responded to the latter request. In a statement to the press, the company said that its iPhone devices already contain parental control software and that “new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.”
Protecting Our Children From the Harms of Cell Phones
The reality is that software changes alone will not combat the growing public health crisis of cell phone addiction. And in addition to the psychological harms of cell phone use, long-term RF exposure may also inflict serious physical harm on our children. If you or someone in your family has a health problem that you believe is related to the use of mobile devices, you should speak with an experienced cell phone cancer attorney. Contact the offices of Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP, at (918) 584-4724 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.