In an open letter to Apple, two of its major shareholders, Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, have raised concerns about research that suggests young people are becoming “addicted” to high-tech devices like the iPhone and iPad, and the software that runs on them. It asks the company to take a number of measures to tackle the problem, such as carrying out more research in the area, and providing more tools and education for parents to help them deal with the issue.
I was playing around with the kid controls on my Amazon Fire Tablet with Amazon’s Freetime and came away impressed with what is possible. I can limit a child account to only use a subset of apps on the device, which is far and above what is possible with an iOS device. Freetime can also set daily goals, such as spending so many minutes in a particular app, and time limits on when the tablet is off limits.
Amazon’s Freetime is not a replacement for parenting, but it does give parents a nice option versus the alternative, which is a total ban on the equipment. Do tech companies have a responsibility to provide tools to help with tech addiction? Let me know what you think!