Katie Davis of the University of Washington Information School can discuss effects of smartphone use on youth

Two of Apple's big investors have called on the company to consider the effects of excessive use of smart phones on young people — even asking Apple to study links between smartphone use and mental health concerns, and develop software to better limit children's phone use.

Katie Davis of the University of Washington Information School and colleagues have been studying young people's use of networked technologies since before smartphones, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram even existed. She is the co-author, with Howard Gardner of Harvard University, of the 2013 book "The App Generation."

She believes that — frustrating as it may be for parents and educators — there are no easy answers to the concern of smart phone use versus dependence in young people. 

As Davis told the New York Times, it's important to consider "what are the applications on the smartphone and how is your particular child using the applications."

It's a complex issue, but — as she and colleagues wrote on Medium — the group believes that "only through the deciphering of this complexity can we fashion more effective strategies for supporting youth." In fact, she wrote, "The path forward likely depends on it."

Davis is an assistant professor and co-director of the UW Digital Youth Lab, which explores the potential of new and future technologies in the lives of young people, from coding to digital art, STEM learning, information literacy and even designing new technologies.

"The stakes are high," she added on Medium: "If we fail to acknowledge complexity, we risk failing to support those youth who genuinely need our help and failing to get out of the way of those who don’t."