A leading activist investor and a pension fund have called on Apple to respond to what some see as a growing public-health crisis of youth phone addiction, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which together control about US$2 billion of Apple shares, urged the smartphone maker to develop new software tools that will help parents control and limit phone use more easily, the report said.
In a letter sent to Apple on Saturday, Jana and CalSTRS also called on the tech giant to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health.
The social campaign marks a new turn for Jana, which is usually known for pushing companies it invests in to make financial changes, the Journal noted.
The large shareholders worry that Apple’s reputation and stock could be hurt if it does not address social concerns related to iPhone addiction.
Half of teenagers in the US feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones and report feeling pressure to immediately respond to phone messages, a 2016 survey of children and their parents showed, according to Reuters.
The phone addiction issue got a high-profile boost from former Disney child star Selena Gomez, 24, who said she canceled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to her addiction to social media and the Instagram app, the news agency noted.
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