Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prevent Child Abuse America's response to Apple's iPhone shaken baby app controversy.

You may have read during the last week about the shaken baby app developed and distributed for the Apple iPhone. This app greatly concerned us at Prevent Child Abuse America as did the idea that it could have been approved in the first place. We commend Apple for immediately removing this app from their store, but we still think there is an opportunity to use this controversy as a way for positively impacting the lives of children. Below is a copy of a letter Prevent Child Abuse America's President & CEO, James M. Hmurovich sent to Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs earlier today.

April 28, 2009

Steve Jobs, CEO
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Mr. Jobs,

On behalf of Prevent Child Abuse America, its employees, our 47 state chapters, and over 400 Healthy Families America sites in 35 states, I am writing you today
to express my profound concern that the recent iPhone shaken baby app was approved for distribution through the Apple App Store.

My concern is based upon the simple issue that a culture exists within the company that allowed the concept to even be discussed, much less approved for distribution. I however want to recognize your quick and thoughtful response to the public outcry regarding this app and express my appreciation for removing it from the Store.

My business is to prevent child abuse and neglect before it ever occurs. This mission is accomplished by informing state and federal policymakers about evidence-based prevention strategies such as home visiting that we know reduce child maltreatment.

We all play a role though in ensuring that these strategies exist in the communities in which we live. We also all play a role in children’s development and I believe the controversy around this app provides both of us with an opportunity to join forces and advance this cause.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is one of the most devastating forms of abuse. It is also one of the most preventable forms of abuse when the right information and the right support are available.

Given this, I would like to propose that our respective organizations partner to:

Provide Shaken Baby Syndrome and general abuse and neglect prevention training to your staff;

Develop an iPhone application that provides parents and communities with vital prevention information and tips; and/or,

Create a platform for mobilizing iPhone users to advocate for public policies that support abuse and neglect prevention.

I believe that together we have the chance to make a meaningful impact in the lives of children and we will be following up in the near future to explore the ways in which we may accomplish this. In the meantime, feel free to contact me at (312) 334-6810.


James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO


Anonymous said...

has there been any response to this letter yet? or have i just not delved far enough into the blog from this particular link? *sheepish grin*

Prevent Child Abuse America said...

No, Apple has not responded and has stated that they would not address this issue any further following the removal of this App.

That said, we did have the opportunity to support/partner with the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and Soma Creates Inc. who want to create a new App focused on preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome.

To learn more about this effort please take at the following press release in the news room on our website - www.preventchildabuse.org/about_us/media_releases/PR_5_6_09.pdf.