Apple responds, promises 'more robust' parental controls for iPhone

Apple has always looked out for kids and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire entertain and educate children a spokeswoman said

Apple has always looked out for kids and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire entertain and educate children a spokeswoman said

Apple already includes such tools in iOS, which allow parents to manage what their children can't and can't do on iPhones and iPads. The letter cited multiple studies that show a correlation between increased device use and negative health effects for kids.

Jana Partners, an activist hedge fund, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (Caltstrs), one of the largest public pension funds in the U.S., say Apple has an opportunity to take the lead in helping parents manage devices that are increasingly ubiquitous and potentially harmful. He said companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Snap will change "only with major pressure from the public and from shareholders".

But the investors said that Apple should allow parents to be able set the age of the user of the phone on setup, and implement limits on screen time, hours of the day the phone can be used and block social media services.

Collectively, Jana and CSTRS own approximately $2 billion in value of shares of Apple.

Is your child addicted to their iPhone or iPad?

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Among the proposals: establish an expert committee including child development specialists; offer Apple's vast information to researchers; and enhance mobile device software so parents have more options to protect their children's health. Meanwhile, Android co-founder Andy Rubin is seeking to apply artificial intelligence to phones so that they perform relatively routine tasks without needing to be physically handled.

'More than 10 years after the iPhone's release, it is a cliché to point out the ubiquity of Apple's devices among children and teenagers, as well as the attendant growth in social media use by this group. "We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids".

In a statement, Apple said it has a "long history" of parental controls. 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".

The Apple letter is the start of a bigger push by one of the investors, Jana, to focus on socially responsible investing, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Neither investor wants Apple to aggressively restrict youth use - rather, they propose the company divine the "developmentally optimal amount and type of access" given the educational opportunities devices provide.

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