Dear Apple, worry more about children's mental health. Sincerely, California teachers

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We believe that by doing so, Apple will enhance long-term value for all shareholders, by creating more choices and options for their customers today and helping to protect the next generation of leaders, innovators, and customers tomorrow.

It added: "We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them". "As a company that prides itself on values like inclusiveness, quality education, environmental protection, and supplier responsibility, Apple would also once again be showcasing the innovative spirit that made you the most valuable public company in the world".

Preventing children for having iPhones or iPads is not what the letter is after, but it is advocating a more balanced approach to smartphone use which Apple can facilitate by expanding on its parental controls.

They urged the company to design more intuitive ways for parents to safeguard their children's devices, and called for them to build a committee of experts "to assist additional research efforts".

Kid looking at smartphone
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He'd like to see Apple implement a tool that would set a "usage curfew" to limit a device's capabilities in the evening when a child should be getting ready for bed.

Smartphones and other digital devices are "dramatically changing the way we behave, the way we relate to each other and the way our society really works", Rich told HuffPost. The shareholders cited a study that said more than half of the children who spent over five hours a day using their mobile devices were less likely to get seven hours of sleep.

Jana, a leading activist shareholder, and CalSTRS, also asked Apple to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health, according to the publication. Experiencing depression as a teenager significantly increases the risk of becoming depressed again later in life. "Over time, if a child's screen-time use means spending too little time on activities that are critical for development - such as completing homework, playing sports or socializing with friends - that child can fall behind peers in these critical areas and can develop low self-esteem and anxiety or withdrawal when faced with situations that test competence in these areas".

In response to concerned shareholders, Apple said they are "committed" to protecting their customers, especially kids, and have "new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make [parental control] tools even more robust". "This does not mean, however, that there are not kids (or adults) that spend excessive time on the phone or who have difficulty disengaging from their phones", said Vasco Lopes, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University Medical Center in NY.

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