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It's time for Apple to update its controls

Author: Barry Rosenstein

Barry Rosenstein. “It’s Time for Apple to Update Its Controls.” USA Today. EBSCOhost, Accessed 4 Feb. 2020.

1 additions to document , most recent about 4 years ago

When Why
Feb-04-20 response from Apple

No one disputes that parents have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that their children use smartphones safely. And we said that precisely in our letter to Apple. That also applies to bike safety, but preschoolers' bikes still come with training wheels.

The problem is that most experts agree that Apple's parental controls, which were introduced in 2008 before most kids had smartphones, have failed to keep pace with the research on negative outcomes.

For example, Apple's controls are largely binary, meaning parents can only shut certain applications or tools on or off, vs. moderating or modifying their usage, which research suggests is a better approach. Children who engage in limited use of their smartphones have better mental health outcomes than those who do not use them at all, and even the most concerning apps such as Facebook can also have beneficial impacts in moderation.

Speaking of which, we did not focus on Facebook first because Apple (unlike Facebook) can have an equally big impact on this issue without modifying Apple's basic business model. In fact, offering better options to parents should enhance Apple's business. In order to improve tools for parents, Apple needs to partner with child development experts from the start to create options that are grounded in the research, including tailoring them to different ages.

What seems especially odd about this debate is that no one disputes that there have been unintentional negative consequences for some kids from excessive smartphone usage, and not even Apple disputes that the company can help parents who want to stop this. Why anyone would not want Apple to do so is mystifying.

The good news is that Apple is a highly responsible and innovative company, and in response to the concerns we and others have raised, Apple committed this week to enhancing the optional tools offered to help parents, which should put this diversionary debate to rest.

Barry Rosenstein is managing partner at Jana Partners LLC.

(c) USA TODAY, 2018

DMU Timestamp: February 03, 2020 23:30

Added February 04, 2020 at 4:41pm by Christopher Sloan
Title: response from Apple

Apple said it plans more "more robust" parental controls, responding to a letter from two large investors urging the tech giant to do more to combat smartphone addiction among children.

On Monday, New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System wrote a letter to Apple expressing concerns the impact smartphones and social media can have on kids.

"We believe 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," a portion of the letter reads.

In a statement Tuesday, Apple defended parental controls already available on its devices but also noted it has planned to introduce tools to make them "even more robust."

"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," their statement reads. "We lead the industry by offering intuitive parental controls built right into the operating system." The iPhone maker isn't saying when those controls will roll out.

The investor letter made several proposals for Apple to consider, including establishing an expert committee, offering Apple's vast information to researchers and enhancing mobile device software so parents have more options to protect their children's health.

(c) USA TODAY, 2018

DMU Timestamp: February 03, 2020 23:30

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