But an anti-tobacco campaign is not an ideal model for the effort to make technology safer for children. Because while there’s plenty of concern about overuse of technology among young people, the actual evidence of addictiveness and harm is much more complex than it was in the case of cigarettes.
Sure, there are treatment facilities for adolescents who are hooked on devices, and psychologists use terms like “problematic media use” in describing a small percentage of people who seem to prefer screens to people. But experts are split over the question of whether internet addiction is a legitimate stand-alone disorder.
STAAR Description Format -- or SDF -- the novel technology developed by Quek, converts any portable document format (PDF) to a version the blind can read on an iPad. The users scan the text with their fingers to hear the words, control the pace of their reading, keep their place on the page, refer back to text, highlight important information and take notes, much like the experience enjoyed by those who are sighted.
"None of us who are sighted who are studying for an exam use audio recordings because we want to be able to read at our own pace, keep our place on the page, and refer back to text," Quek said. "I may want to read slower when I'm studying for an exam, while I read a newspaper more quickly."
Corporations can blather on all they like about corporate responsibility and human rights, but, in the end, maximising shareholder value is all that counts. And Apple is determined to get to that trillion-dollar valuation no matter what. So if you’re an Apple user in China, you now have a simple choice: junk your iPhone, iPad and fancy Macbook laptop; or accept that your autocratic rulers can access your data at their convenience. In which case, whatever you say, say nothing – as they used to say in Belfast.
And you thought getting a WWDC ticket is difficult? Have you tried getting into the Oscars?
Thanks for reading.