IPhones and children are a toxic pair, say two big apple investors

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The letter cited various studies and surveys on how the heavy usage of smartphones and social media negatively affects children's mental and physical health.

TWO large shareholders have urged Apple to study whether iPhones are addictive for children and that intensive use of the smartphones may be bad for their mental health, Bloomberg News reported today.

Activist hedge fund Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System sent a letter to apple over the weekend, asking the company to offer more tools for parents to show children how to use its devices. These range from distractions in the classroom and issues around focus on educational tasks to higher risks of suicide and depression.

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The statement came in response to an open letter that published Saturday that asked Apple to take a socially responsible approach to helping parents navigate the tricky waters of phone ownership among kids.

"This is an opportunity for Apple to play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the needs of the next generation of consumers is both good for business and the right thing to do".

They also proposed that Apple should establish an expert committee including child development specialists, which should produce annual reports, and offer Apple's vast information to researchers on the issue.

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"What is less well known is that there is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences", the letter said. As well, USA teenagers spending five hours or more per day on electronic devices are 71 per cent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide than those who spend less than an hour.

Part of the treatment involved giving up her smartphone for three months.

Last year, Apple introduced a new version of their popular messenger service aimed for children between the ages of six and twelve.

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Sky News has contacted Apple for comment.

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