Is there a ‘toxic’ link between iPhones and children?

Two major shareholders in Apple are pushing the smartphone manufacturer to study what they see as the growing problem of young people getting addicted to their iPhones.

Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) - which together control about $2bn (£1.5bn) worth of Apple shares - want the tech company to consider developing software that enables parents to limit their children’s phone use, says The Wall Street Journal. They also want Apple to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health.

The shareholders are concerned that the “entrancing qualities” of iPhones have “fostered a public health crisis” that could hurt both children and the company, according to Bloomberg. The news website reports that France is to ban smartphones in its primary and middle schools. 

Apple declined to comment, Bloomberg says.

“The issue of phone addiction among young people has become a growing concern in the United States,” Reuters reports. Half of all US teens surveyed in 2016 thought they were addicted to their mobile phones and said they felt pressure to immediately reply to phone messages, according to CNN.