Apple’s revolutionary iPhones vs. parents

“When to allow children a smartphone has become among the most pivotal of parental decisions in the decade since Apple Inc.’s iPhone remade daily habits. For many families, the choice is as significant as when to hand over the car keys,” Betsy Morris writes for The Wall Street Journal. “It pits parents and teachers against some of the largest and most advanced companies in the world—a fight as lopsided as it sounds.”

“Experience has already shown parents that ceding control over the devices has reshaped their children’s lives, allowing an outside influence on school work, friendships, recreation, sleep, romance, sex and free time,” Morris writes. “Nearly 75% of teenagers had access to smartphones, concluded a 2015 study by Pew Research Center—unlocking the devices about 95 times a day on average, according to research firm Verto Analytics. They spent, on average, close to nine hours a day tethered to screens large and small outside of school, according to Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that promotes safe media use for children.”

“Apple said its mobile software includes parental controls to govern content and applications,” Morris writes. “Hoping to forestall a looming social backlash, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which together control about $2 billion of Apple shares, urged the company in a Jan. 6 letter to create offer more choices and tools for parents to control and limit iPhone use.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sigh. As with school teachers, the government, and many others, now some want Apple to be the parents.

Once again, 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.

Can Apple save us from ourselves? – January 11, 2018
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. teachers wanting parental controls.

    I noticed teachers in schools asking their kids to fix the computers including the one of the teacher’s desk.

    My foster kid with me standing there actually bypassed the ‘password’ on the teachers desk (on the request of the frustrated teacher) when it was locked by hacking into the drive directly (this was years back when password locks were simple).

    (my wife has a Masters in Education and was a teacher so not beating up on teachers .. )

    and lots of parents ask their kids (even those in grade school) for help with their smartphones, digital TVs etc,

    maybe the request is for Apple to provide ‘parental controls’ is to make controls easy enough for tech clueless teachers and parents?

  2. I keep seeing news reports about Jana partners as a stockholder of AAPL making demands on Apple. . . but looking at Jana Partners’ holdings I find NO HOLDINGS IN AAPL at all! What in hell are they making demands as a stockholder when they are not?

  3. Parental controls on, until 18. Less and less restrictive as they get older. Also no iPhones until high school. But frankly I am coming to the opinion, don’t give your kid a cell unless necessary and not a smart phone until they graduate or go to college. It’s so hard to be a parent these days. The world is coming into the home instead of our grown kids reaching out to the world. No wrong way just a lot of uncertainty and anxiety.

  4. While I would advocate Apple look into a system similar to Amazon’s Freetime, some carriers do provide web dashboards parents could use to manage the devices on their account and limit things like data and text, and toggle enabling roaming and long distance per device. Disabling or limiting data may be one way to somewhat control how much devices are used or at least restrict the places it can be used.

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