Just a few weeks ago Apple was being skewered by shareholders, customers, and privileged non-adults in college for not doing enough to prevent iPhone addiction. Yeah, that’s a thing. Look around. What do you see?
The entire world around us, in human form, is hunkered over a handheld screen doing god only knows what. Maps, Messages, Mail, Safari, Pokémon. No. Wait. That’s not a thing anymore, right? Regardless of the fact that there are a billion more Android devices on the planet than iPhones, it’s Apple that gets the criticism for not doing enough to counter humanity’s tendency toward device addiction.
Hey, Apple didn’t invent dopamine, you know?
There is little question that Apple and Google could do more to curb our addictions but what is the incentive? We might buy fewer iPhones. That’s not good for shareholders. We might use our smartphones less. That’s not good for Google.
What’s a thriving technology company to do?
It was time for Apple to strike back and the company did with a new Families section on Apple.com. Families? Well, we’re talking about Apple giving adults tools to help their children remain secure while using their iPhones and iPads.
You know your kids better than anyone. That’s why we’ve put a lot of thought into helping parents choose what their kids can do with their devices.
Actually, this family focus is not new, and definitely not a response to the addiction criticism, but it is a handy way for parents to put in a few restrictions to iPhone and iPad use.
The Kids section is carefully curated to be a great space for children. And we review every app to make sure it does what it says it does.
You know; like mining cryptocurrency in the background while your kids play Pokémon. It could happen. Wait. It did happen.
These are not new features. They’ve been around awhile. This is Apple’s subtle way of saying, “Hey, these are your kids, so you have to watch out for them because we don’t get paid to do that…”
Of course, Apple doesn’t mind if your children become a little bit addicted to using the iPhone in the hopes that when they finally fly to coop they’ll be smart enough to unhook all those restrictions and buy their own apps.
With a few taps you can keep your kids from accessing movies, TV shows, music, apps, books, or podcasts that contain things you don’t want them to see or hear.
Yeah, like cable TV news and Breitbart is good for them.
I get it that Apple is all in on the family. After all, what technology company is more Disneyesque than Apple? Disneyland is a walled garden where you pay for expensive tickets to visit the happiest place on earth. Apple gives users the happiest experience. For a price.
Even when everyone in the family is somewhere different — in school, at a friend’s house, driving to practice, shopping at the mall — iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch give parents the information they need to stay cool, calm, and connected.
I’m willing to bet that most parents of iPhone and iPad toting children didn’t know about all the restrictions they can imposed upon their offspring, so, by promoting the Families section, Apple is doing a good thing. For families. But even these tools still encourage addiction, but at a much younger age.