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Global fund aims to reduce tech harm to mental health

Screen overuse in the early stages of human development can trigger concentration and behavioural disorders, including depression, say 27 global investors who are managing a $2.1trn fund to help companies reduce the potential negative effects of technology on customers’ mental health.
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The group, led by AXA Investment Managers (headquartered in France) and Sycamore Investment Management (New-York based), will engage with hardware, media, internet, gaming, software, edtech and telecom firms to ensure they are developing action plans to protect the mental health and well-being of consumers, reports Reuters.

Increasing use of the internet, smartphones, video games, social media and streaming services raises concerns about addiction, while self-esteem and sleep can also be affected, said the group in a statement.

The investors will guide tech firms to set goals, such as for keeping children safe online, which can be monitored by shareholders.

The group would encourage transparency and disclosure around content control.

If the tech firms do not meet expectations, members of the group could choose individually to downgrade their environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores, vote against management during AGMs or file shareholder resolutions, said Theo Kotula, ESG analyst at AXA IM and co-chair of the group.

“There is still much to be done and we can accelerate awareness and encourage tech companies to implement concrete action plans to protect users and reduce companies’ long-term ESG risks,” he said.

 

Reuters article – Investors managing $2.1 trillion to address impact of technology on mental health (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Limiting children's screen time linked to better cognition

 

Glued to our screens, and trying to get unstuck

 

Estimated 1 in 4 children and young people have problematic smartphone usage

 

Americans legalise pot – And then panic over tech addiction

 

 

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