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An Open Letter to Apple and AT&T Boards of Directors

By Patrick B. Donohue, Esq.
Apr 27, 2009 11:09 AM PT

TO:

Board of Directors of Apple, Inc.
Mr. Tim Cook, Mr. Steve Jobs, Mr. William Campbell, Mr. Millard Drexler, Vice President Al Gore, Ms. Andrea Jung, Mr. Arthur Levinson, Mr. Eric Schmidt, Mr. Jerome York

An Open Letter to Apple and AT&T Boards of Directors

Board of Directors of AT&T, Inc.
Mr. Randall Stephenson, Mr. William Aldinger, Mr. Gilbert Amelio, Mr. Reuben Anderson, Mr. James Blanchard, Mr. August Busch III, Mr. Jaime Chico Pardo, Mr. James P. Kelly, Mr. Jon Madonna, Ms. Lynn Martin, Mr. John McCoy, Ms. Mary Metz, Ms. Joyce Roche, Ms. Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Ms. Patricia Upton

CC:

Desmond Runyan, M.D., Dr.Ph, Chair, Department of Social Medicine and Director, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, The University of North Carolina School of Medicine;
Robert Murphy, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Child & Family Health, Duke University

FROM:

Patrick B. Donohue, Esq.
Founder, The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation

RE:

OPEN LETTER to Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc. Boards of Directors

DATE:

April 26, 2009

I would like to begin by making it perfectly clear: The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation will not be soliciting nor will it accept one penny from either Apple Inc. or AT&T Inc.

However, as I have previously written, we have very grave concerns about Apple and AT&T's inactions regarding the recent "BABY SHAKER" application situation.

Right now there are potentially 1000s of ticking time bombs (we don't know how many people actually downloaded the BABY SHAKER application); however, all it will take is one 13-year-old (like the child who downloaded your 1 billionth application) who learns from his iPhone the way to quiet his 6-week-old sister is by shaking her as hard and as fast as he can and completely altering this child's life and his family.

As you can see from many of the comments about your removal of the application, there is a considerable audience who still considers the concept of shaking a baby to be funny! Your actions have reinforced this "funny" concept which is exactly what prevention organizations have been working to overcome for years.

And finally, your legalistic, generic apology was clearly not directed towards the many families and victims suffering every day from the consequences of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Here are three very concrete proposals I hope you will strongly consider and will demonstrate that both of your organizations are taking your corporate responsibility seriously:

    1) work directly with Dr. Desmond Runyan and Dr. Robert Murphy (two of the leaders in the United States with preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome who are cc'd on this letter) to address the immediate children/adults who downloaded the "BABY SHAKER" app to ensure they have the proper understanding that shaking a baby to quiet a baby is wrong and harmful;

    2) [arrange for] Mr. Tim Cook to attend the 2-hour panel discussion Dr. Runyan is Chairing with other leading national experts about Prevention of Abusive Head Trauma on May 6, 2009, at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; this is part of our 15-city National PABI Heroes Tour;

    3) after the 2-hour panel discussion, announce a joint effort between Dr. Desmond Runyan (UNC-Chapel Hill), Dr. Robert Murphy (Duke), Apple and AT&T utilizing the creative and technological resources of Apple and AT&T to work on the Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome and to offer a personal apology to the families and victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

With any of these 1000s of ticking time bombs ready to go off, time is of the essence for your reply.


Patrick B. Donohue, Esq., is founder of The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.


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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.