Can Apple save us from ourselves?

“We have a smartphone addiction problem. Around 77 percent of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35 percent in 2011, and many of those users check their phones at least 80 times a day,” Gracy Olmstead writes for The Week. “‘Nomophobia’ — the fear associated with loss of mobile contact — impacts a substantial share of smartphone users, according to recent surveys.”

“In response to this trend, two major Apple shareholders — California’s teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, and the JANA Partners investment group — are asking Apple to build child and teen parameters into their products,” Olmstead writes. “In an open letter to the company’s board, they argue that it doesn’t make sense to hand a child or teen ‘the same phone as a 40-year-old.'”

“Of course, such involvement and concern on Apple’s part would be ideal,” Olmstead writes. “In a perfect world, Apple (as well as other tech giants like Facebook and Google) would take responsibility for the dangerously addictive nature of their technologies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Making it easy and intuitive for parents to set up usage limits is a no-brainer and Apple most certainly would be smart to do so.

That said, good parenting is good parenting. Apple is not your mommy.

For even more proof that Steve Jobs was an unparalleled visionary (as if we needed any), from The New York Times, September 10, 2014, Nick Bilton recounts a conversation he had with Steve Jobs in late 2010:

Bilton: So, your kids must love the iPad?
Jobs: They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.

“Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends,” Bilton reported. “I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night. Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.”

Read more in the full article here.

Note: Currently in iOS, you can use Restrictions, also known as parental controls, to block or limit specific apps and features on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. More info here.

Two major Apple shareholders push for study of iPhone addiction in children – January 8, 2018
Has Steve Jobs’ iPhone destroyed a generation? – August 3, 2017
Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent – September 11, 2014


  1. Nothing but pure BS. Smartphone head down addiction is not just Apple products. Parental controls are PRESENT in devices today. Wait for the money grab next.
    Speaking of addictions that are bad—Fakebook, french fries, Snapchat, selfies, softdrinks, booze, cigarettes etc etc etc
    Where does the Gubbermint NannyState snowflake BS end???

  2. So you want Apple to limit the use of there product.
    That’s like asking a heroin dealer to include the PSA and address for the closest methadone clinic with their product.

    Ethically yes they should do it but then the shareholders would be up in arms about profit taking a hit.

    1. No. That’s not what anyone who’s sane wants.

      We want Apple to provide the tools for users to be able to limit the use of the products they own as desired.

      Just as Apple should provide a tool that allows users to choose to either slow your processor to extend the lifetime of a product with an aging battery or to run it full out for a shorter period of time.

      It’s entirely reasonable to demand a tool that makes it easy and intuitive for users to set up usage limits.

      1. Agreed. As long as the parent is paying for the device and/or line I don’t see why there shouldn’t be something similar to Amazon’s Freetime service for smartphones/tablets used by dependents.

  3. I think calling it an addiction problem puts the whole issue as well a problem. I prefer to look at it as an adaptation to technology.

    It’s is fairly easy to see, for example how modern day society have adapted to the technology of electricity. One could consider it an addiction, after all many people around the world use electrical devices, many on a daily basis for good and nefarious purposes.

    I find that the same goes for any technology, it is the spirit in which it is used that is important, technology can be used to better our lives and the lives of others or it can be used otherwise.

    Ultimately the choice is ours, and like MDN points out, good parenting is good parenting.

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