Two funds with significant investments in iPhone maker Apple are putting pressure on the company to do more to combat smartphone addiction among young people.
California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), one of the largest pension funds in the US, and Jana Partners, a leading activist shareholder fund, sent a letter to Apple on Saturday asking the smartphone maker to address what they called the growing problem of iPhone addiction.
Together Jana and CalSTRS own about $2bn in Apple shares and both are concerned that the issue could cause Apple reputational damage and share price losses, and ask the company to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health among the young.
The letter quoted studies that claimed students were negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom, affecting the ability to focus on academic tasks.
Moreover, the study claimed in the past three to five years since personal technologies have entered the classroom, the number of students with emotional and social challenges have increased.
More choices for parents
On Monday, Apple had still not responded to the letter and both Jana and CalSTRS were unavailable for further comment, however, the letter was explicit about what the investors expected of the tech giant.
"We believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner.
"Addressing this issue now will enhance long-term value for all shareholders, by creating more choices and options for your customers today and helping to protect the next generation of leaders, innovators, and customers tomorrow."