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Investors to Apple: Do more to combat cell phone addiction in kids

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 17:52:51-05

I’ve spoken many times about the dangers of too much smartphone use; it’s something I think we should all take seriously.

Technology can help us in lots of ways, but I’ve also seen firsthand the power our smart machines have to wreak havoc in people’s lives.

Well, now it looks like some tech heavyweights are also taking notice of the problem. Several of Apple’s biggest investors now say the company responsible for the iPhone should do more in the fight against smartphone addiction in kids.

These are some of the big guns, some very important shareholders. One is Jana Partners LLC, a group of investors from New York City, and the second is the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. Together, they control over 2 billion dollars’ worth of Apple shares.

They are asking Apple to add tools and programs that will help kids fight addiction to smartphones.

For lots of people, addiction starts off innocently enough — you’re just checking Facebook a few times a day, and posting here and there. But then you start to check it a few more times, and you post more, and before you know it you can’t put your phone down.

Here are my prescriptions to help you avoid this scenario:

  1. Set strict limits for yourself and your loved ones. Have specific times during the day where you set the phone aside and don’t look at it, period.
  2. If cell phone addiction is a real problem for you, start small. Slowly work your way to larger chunks of time without it.
  3. Understand the risks. One study showed that middle schoolers who used lots of social media were 27 percent more likely to be depressed. 
  4. Replace the smartphone or social media habit with a healthier one, like reading. 

Smartphone addiction is a huge problem, and it’s only getting worse.

One study that looked at more than two thousand teachers found that 75 percent of them felt their students’ ability to focus had decreased as a result of digital technology.

So it’s all about finding a balance. Our smartphones are supposed to be tools. But for lots of people, these tools have taken over their lives.