Two of Apple’s institutional shareholders, hedge fund Jana Partners and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), are calling on the company to study the impact of smartphone use on child development.
In an open letter, the two investors said that after reviewing research, they believe that Apple needs to give parents more resources and software tools to make sure their kids are using their devices “in an optimal manner.”
Together, Jana and CalSTRS hold a total of about $2 billion in Apple shares, which represents a tiny fraction of its current $898 billion market cap.
The letter is noteworthy, however, because both investors are influential activist shareholders.
Jana Partners managing director Barry Rosenstein pushed Whole Foods to put itself up for sale before the grocery chain’s acquisition by Amazon last year, while CalSTRS, which manages retirement benefits for public educators in California, is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States.
In a letter signed by Rosenstein and CalSTRS director of corporate governance Anne Sheehan, the two shareholders said they worked with child development experts to review studies that found links between the use of electronic devices and negative effects on concentration, emotional health, sleep and empathy.