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Apple says it looks out for kids, as investors cite phone 'addiction'

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Elizabeth Dilts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Inc said it "has always looked out for kids", defending its policy for children, after two major investors urged it to address what they said was a growing problem of young people getting addicted to Apple's iPhones.

Shareholders Jana Partners, a leading activist shareholder, and pension investor CalSTRS, one of the nation's largest public pension plans, delivered a letter to on Saturday asking the company to consider developing software that would allow parents more options to limit children's phone use.

Jana and also asked to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health. They said they own about $2 billion of stock.

on Monday said that since 2008 the iPhone's software has allowed parents to control which apps, movies, games and other content children can access.

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

It said it had new features in the works to make tools more robust.

The social rights issue is a new turn for Jana, which is known for pushing companies it invests in to make financial changes.

However, the issue of phone addiction among young people has become a growing concern in the as parents report their children cannot give up their phones. and Jana worry that "even" Apple's reputation could be hurt if it does not address those concerns. Their letter was originally reported by

Half of teenagers in the feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones and report feeling pressure to immediately respond to phone messages, according to a 2016 survey of children and their parents by

The phone addiction issue got a high-profile boost from the former child star Selena Gomez, 24, who said she canceled a 2016 world tour to go to and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to her addiction to and the mobile photo-sharing app

(Reporting by Elizabeth in New York, Stephen Nellis and Peter Henderson in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 17:36 IST