Apple responds to investor criticism over heavy smartphone use by children, says parental ...

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 8
Responding to recent criticism over the potential negative impact smartphone use might have on children, Apple on Monday said it has long provided device owners, specifically parents, with a number of controls and built-in protections to safeguard young users.




Apple in a statement issued late Monday said it has been integrating content and system management controls into iOS in 2008, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company is likely referring to the second generation of iPhone OS, which delivered an App Store and other advanced functions to iPhone and iPod touch users.

Aside from backend safeguards like stringent iTunes content policies and strong security protocols, Apple pointed to customizable parental options available in the Settings app that govern content, app usage, app downloads, system access and more.

"We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them," Apple said. "We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids."

The company said it is "constantly looking" for ways to improve its devices and noted future iOS revisions will make its parental restriction toolset "even more robust," according to the report.

Though it did not directly address it, Apple's statement is thought to be in response to an open letter penned by two prominent investors, Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System. Published on Sunday, the letter suggests there is a "growing body of evidence" that smartphones "may be having unintentional negative consequences" on youth with more intense usage habits.

The shareholders propose Apple develop more effective controls that would allow parents to set age restrictions, limit screen time, prohibit access to certain social media services and monitor overall device use. The company was also asked to provide assistance in studying the impact smartphones have on mental health. Another suggestion involves tasking an executive with monitoring the issue and producing annual progress reports.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    As a "tech-savvy" parent who tried to "do my job" of monitoring and configuring an iPad for the use of my child, I was very quickly scratching my head looking for the following. * Day/Time access schedules. * App blocking. * Internet filtering. --- Schedules were nonexistent, Total App blocking is restricted to "some" 1st party apps only - I could block face time but not messages or email. Other apps could only be restricted by content ratings that I don't control. Internet filtering was purely based aforementioned ratings... no provision for black or white lists. The only way to block you tube was to not install the app but even then they could access it via safari... unless I block safari but then they would have no internet browsing at all. Bare minimum doesn't even begin to describe what is offered. At least they restricted store and in app purchase options... eventually. And just to be clear, I'm purposely omitting any third-party solutions. I believe this should and in many cases needs to be provided by Apple due the level of system access required.
    edited January 8 AppleUfmyIadm1avon b7GeorgeBMacShane0527muthuk_vanalingam78BanditLukeCageOfer
  • Reply 2 of 80
    Now Trolls and Fud generators will scream and yell... "why didnt you print that on the box "

    In my experiance when  a friend or an acquaintance rants and naggs about something... it is usually their ignorance of the issue on hand or their refusal to take time to study and learn something! And  not a problem with the product or the issue at hand.
    edited January 8 RobPalmer9gregg thurmanjoshbishwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 80
    As a "tech-savvy" parent who tried to "do my job" of monitoring and configuring an iPad for the use of my child, I was very quickly scratching my head looking for the following. * Day/Time access schedules. * App blocking. * Internet filtering. --- Schedules were nonexistent, Total App blocking is restricted to "some" 1st party apps only - I could block face time but not messages or email. Other apps could only be restricted by content ratings that I don't control. Internet filtering was purely based aforementioned ratings... no provision for black or white lists. The only way to block you tube was to not install the app but even then they could access it via safari... unless I block safari but then they would have no internet browsing at all. Bare minimum doesn't even begin to describe what is offered. At least they restricted store and in app purchase options... eventually. And just to be clear, I'm purposely omitting any third-party solutions. I believe this should and in many cases needs to be provided by Apple due the level of system access required.
    Have you looked at Apple Configurator 2?

    Apple Configurator 2 on the Mac App Store - iTunes - Apple
    SpamSandwichracerhomie3watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 80
    Apple are missing the point, firstly they don’t support device sharing on iPad so it’s lock all or none, and these only limit what not how long...

    microsoft have much much better stuff where you can specify when and how long as well and good email chatter for you to track and overuse and covers pc and Xbox...

    actually apple have sone better stuff but they only give it to schoools !!!
    GeorgeBMacjoshbish
  • Reply 5 of 80
    As a "tech-savvy" parent who tried to "do my job" of monitoring and configuring an iPad for the use of my child, I was very quickly scratching my head looking for the following. * Day/Time access schedules. * App blocking. * Internet filtering. --- Schedules were nonexistent, Total App blocking is restricted to "some" 1st party apps only - I could block face time but not messages or email. Other apps could only be restricted by content ratings that I don't control. Internet filtering was purely based aforementioned ratings... no provision for black or white lists. The only way to block you tube was to not install the app but even then they could access it via safari... unless I block safari but then they would have no internet browsing at all. Bare minimum doesn't even begin to describe what is offered. At least they restricted store and in app purchase options... eventually. And just to be clear, I'm purposely omitting any third-party solutions. I believe this should and in many cases needs to be provided by Apple due the level of system access required.

    philboogie
  • Reply 6 of 80
    I so agree!   I had to replace Safari with a safe browser which helps BUT, the app makers figure out ways around it by embedding videos, hidden ads, and other things into their kid game apps.  Even if you get a parental controlled router, the kids figure out they can go to their friends house and connect to their unprotected Wi-Fi or switch to cell service.  Worse yet, a control on an iPad/iPhone won’t work on a MacBook.   I don’t expect Apple to love everything but more features in this area would be very helpful.  
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamjoshbishjony0
  • Reply 7 of 80
    Come on now, smartphones and tablets are now kids companions and toys, time changed.
    i used to play w sardines cans as truck toy cause thats all we got....
    gregg thurmanradarthekatGeorgeBMacedredwatto_cobrajony0waltg
  • Reply 8 of 80
    This is for homes where kids call the shots. Parents who can not control their kids should be ashamed to call themselves parents.
    rob53zeus423gregg thurmanmacseekerradarthekatracerhomie3baconstangRayz2016tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 80
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 209member
    You mean we’re allowing these adults to procreate? 
    zeus423gregg thurmanracerhomie3watto_cobrajony0waltg
  • Reply 10 of 80
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 317member
    This is absolutely crucial. Apple has done very little in this area. Apple got out of the router game, but even when they did actively develop AirPort Extreme, there was no way to limit internet usage by the total number of hours for each user. You could set the time periods for access but not the total number of hours. However, kids could just switch to LTE and bypass all the restrictions. 

    Apple should definitely come up with parental controls that encompass all of its devices and allow parents to administer controls from one web-based portal. Additionally, content filtering should be an option. Maybe all children’s internet activity should be proxied via the Apple’s servers that carry out filtering. Maybe the filtering rules should be pushed to end devices. Either way, there should be a way to restrict where kids can go on the web if Apple’s devices are used. 

    You won’t get this if you are still living in your parents’ basement, so don’t bother to respond. Get back to me when your kids start reaching the age of Internet use if Apple hasn’t developed content filtering tools by then.  
    joshbish
  • Reply 11 of 80
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,074member
    The excuse some parents make about the difficulty of configuring the child's iDevice to micromanage what they do on it is at the minimum, ridiculous.

    Just take the damn thing away.  It's really that easy.  Just... take it away.  Child has a tantrum?  So what.  Child screams?  So what.  Eventually they will tire.  Harping on Apple just means you lost control of your child, or better yet... your child has YOU wrapped around their finger.

    Apparently this adults forgot what they used to do as kids before iPhones are around.  I remembered playing outside, using my imagination, drawing, etc... Now, you use an iPhone as a babysitter, and blame Apple for it.

    Don't even try to conjure and excuse.  Admit it.  You failed.
    freerangemacseekerbaconstangRayz2016dhawkins541georgie012old4funLukeCageStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 80
    Why is it that people blame the firms, that make the products, they purchase for their kids, when they don’t like the way their kids use them?  Why is it always the others’ fault win your kids misbehave?

    When did personal responsibility stop being ours, and belong to someone else?
    radarthekatbaconstangviclauyycgeorgie012old4funeideardStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 13 of 80
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,838member
    It's about time parents take back the responsibility in raising their kids from all the people they dumped it on, like teachers and now, computer companies. People are too quick to label anything detrimental to kids. All the other things that are detrimental to kids, like tobacco, alcohol, drugs, guns, are discussed then tossed aside because they all require parental control to implement properly and parents just aren't willing to do this anymore. I grew up in a time where we had to respect our parents and what they said. Now, kids just blow parents and other adults off without even thinking about it. To blame this on iPhones and iPads is simply passing the buck and ignoring where the real fault lies--with parents who aren't willing to discuss things with their kids with the goal of compromising to allow the kid to learn things while also enjoying life. The bigger problem is parents who hate their life because they no longer get to do what they'd like to do and have just given up on helping their children grow into respectful adults.

    Yes, smartphone use is out of control in K-12 schools but instead of complaining about Apple I suggest you look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies. As for those of you who are responsible, keep it up.

    freerangemwhiteSpamSandwichbaconstangviclauyycgregg thurmanshark5150georgie012old4funeideard
  • Reply 14 of 80
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,310moderator
    sflocal said:
    The excuse some parents make about the difficulty of configuring the child's iDevice to micromanage what they do on it is at the minimum, ridiculous.

    Just take the damn thing away.  It's really that easy.  Just... take it away.  Child has a tantrum?  So what.  Child screams?  So what.  Eventually they will tire.  Harping on Apple just means you lost control of your child, or better yet... your child has YOU wrapped around their finger.

    Apparently this adults forgot what they used to do as kids before iPhones are around.  I remembered playing outside, using my imagination, drawing, etc... Now, you use an iPhone as a babysitter, and blame Apple for it.

    Don't even try to conjure and excuse.  Admit it.  You failed.
    Precisely.  Even before the ‘just take it away’ comes ‘don’t simply hand it to the kid as a pacifier in the first place.’  Parents should plan their kids’ use of addictive technology. 
    baconstanggeorgie01eideardStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 15 of 80
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,310moderator
    There is, of course, an easy fix Apple could apply.  The phone, upon detecting a pattern of use consistent with a child, could simply slow its processor until the child becomes impatient, puts it down and goes about some other activity.  Hahaha.  
    baconstangedredStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 16 of 80
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,070member
    Give the kids cigarettes instead THEN the parents will have something to complain about.
    rob532old4funedredeideardStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 80
    nhtnht Posts: 4,060member
    sflocal said:
    The excuse some parents make about the difficulty of configuring the child's iDevice to micromanage what they do on it is at the minimum, ridiculous.

    Just take the damn thing away.  It's really that easy.  Just... take it away.  Child has a tantrum?  So what.  Child screams?  So what.  Eventually they will tire.  Harping on Apple just means you lost control of your child, or better yet... your child has YOU wrapped around their finger.

    Apparently this adults forgot what they used to do as kids before iPhones are around.  I remembered playing outside, using my imagination, drawing, etc... Now, you use an iPhone as a babysitter, and blame Apple for it.

    Don't even try to conjure and excuse.  Admit it.  You failed.
    Precisely.  Even before the ‘just take it away’ comes ‘don’t simply hand it to the kid as a pacifier in the first place.’  Parents should plan their kids’ use of addictive technology. 
    Said by people without kids or in areas where teachers and schools use smartphones as part of the classroom.  Everything is online and in google docs.  Kids meet via hangouts and work on projects.  Resources are mostly online.  Teachers send emails and messages regarding homework and assignments. 

    Everything social is via social media enabled by smartphones.  Not having a phone is a negative for middle schoolers and a serious social handicap for high school kids.

    /shrug

    i use screentime which works really well on android and abysmally on iOS because Apple support for this sort of thing sucks.  I can disable apps during the school day or at night and still allow kids to message, call and other basic activities. I can track websites and app usage patterns.

    i can block problematic apps, add additional time, pause all phone activity, and reward good behavior because it provides fine grain control over the user experience and it works really really well.

    but not on iOS.  So the carrot and stick approach here is if you get good grades and don’t piss me off I get you an iPhone. Get C’s or play on your phone too much and it’s an Android for you.

    but feel free to continue to be sanctimonious asshats and judge people on things you clearly have no fucking clue about. 
    adm1franklinjackconGeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamjoshbisharlomedia
  • Reply 18 of 80
    There is, of course, an easy fix Apple could apply.  The phone, upon detecting a pattern of use consistent with a child, could simply slow its processor until the child becomes impatient, puts it down and goes about some other activity.  Hahaha.  
    I can see the 'tween class action suit now  ;)
    radarthekatedredwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 80
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 287member
    Wait a minute...so parents are not doing their jobs to supervise their kids and the kids are using their devices and now they are suing Apple?
    radarthekat2old4funwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 80
    Have you looked at Apple Configurator 2?
    Unfortunately Config isn’t working reliably.
    Many issues. Also I believe many of the suggestions listed in this thead should by now be built in to iOS. 
    GeorgeBMac
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