Apple plans ‘more robust’ parental tools after iPhone addiction claims
Apple says that it plans to make parental control tools more robust, following investor calls that it must take action against smartphone addiction in children.
Two investors, collectively controlling $2bn (£1.48bn) in Apple stock, called out the company on Monday for not doing enough to help mitigate the growing concerns around the negative effects of smartphones and social media on the young, urging it to “play a defining role” in the health and development of children.
In response the firm says that it “leads the industry” on parental controls. A spokesperson said: “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.”
The firm said that it introduced parental controls to the iPhone in 2008, which now include content and app restrictions, data access, privacy settings and password requirements.
“We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust,” Apple added.
The investors call is the latest in a series of Silicon Valley insiders voicing concerns over the long-term impact of technology on children. Smartphone addiction is one element, another is social media use. A small collection of high-profile and pioneering technology executives, including ex-Facebook president Sean Parker, have called out Facebook and other social media firms for not doing enough and consciously preventing their children gaining access to such sites and services.
“I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive in charge of growth.
Apple did not pledge to establish an expert committee on child development, as urged, nor to produce annual reports on progress or to open up its data for researchers on the issue.
But the firm said: “We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”
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