Is Apple responsible for your child’s smartphone use?
That’s like asking if Frito-Lay is responsible for what your children eat. Rather than believing we can regulate food we need to give our children the tools to regulate themselves.
Concerning technology, we should expect a similar level of responsibility and control. But few of even the best parents have the capacity or the practical know-how to create the necessary limits for technology use in their children.
Apple bears responsibility in helping parents
As a father who has navigated two children through these waters with no help from anyone (other than an amazing wife with a similar mission), a better question might be, ‘How responsible is Apple in helping parents set limits with smart phone use.’ This puts some shared responsibility on Apple to help facilitate healthy technology use.
All of this began with an open letter to Apple from some tech moguls as reported by David Gelles in the New York Times:
A growing roster of prominent technology executives have grown worried about the creations that brought them fame and fortune.
Sean Parker, an early investor in Facebook, reflected on the sprawling influence of the social network. “It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” he said in an interview with Axios in November. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, the degree to which the messaging service had become a bastion for hateful speech. “The internet is broken,” he said.
This article conflates a variety of issues including bad behavior on social networks, excessive screen time and the evil nature of the internet. Put them in one story with quotes from billionaires showing developer’s remorse and we’ve created nothing other than link bait for luddites.
Moving from head shaking to actionable guidance
Screen time and smartphone use in children need attention that goes beyond committee reports and position papers. We have a long way to go concerning digital citizenship. As far as the human nature of what happens when people connect on a global scale, this is way over the heads of Apple or the U.S. government.
Until the organizations charged with the welfare and well-being of children connect with the vast resources of those quoted above to empower parents on a practical level, all of this is just rage against the machine.
Image via Cia de Foto on Flickr