School systems often hand out iPads in the classroom?at the beginning of each year. In fact,?Apple sold a million iPads to schools in one quarter during 2012. Thus, it’s disturbing?that horrendous Apple factory working conditions in Apple’s Chinese Apple factory, Foxconn, were discovered?during the 2010 worker?suicide tragedy. After that, Apple publicly promised to implement adequate?worker-protection protocols. The computer giant even proudly proclaims: “All over the world, we’re expanding opportunities for workers and ensuring that they’re treated with respect and dignity.” Tell that to BBC investigators!
BBC Investigation for Panorama
BBC recently sent undercover workers into China Apple factories where they gained?firsthand experience of the “helpless” working conditions in?plants?run by Foxconn and Pegatron. It took mere?minutes for the undercover workers to witness violations of Apple’s rules. The BBC documentary also documents?child abuse and other atrocities committed in Indonesia where many of Apple’s raw materials are mined. You can see footage of the endeavors and read Waylae Gregoire’s account of the atrocities here.
Ethics of iPads in the Classroom
When do school administrators cross the?line between the good deed of providing iPads in the classroom to being accomplices to atrocious Apple factory working conditions and child abuse? In fact, All individuals have a responsibility to ask themselves that question before purchasing an iPad or an iPhone. But, does the power to purchase thousands of iPads at once bring added responsibility?
Perhaps it’s good news that Apple will be forced to compete with Google’s Chromebook before it provides iPads in the classrooms of the LA Unified School District. After all, it’s Americas second largest school district. The problem is that Chromebook manufacturers, such as Samsung, don’t exactly have the greatest track record for working conditions either.
One suggestion to school administrators is to at least consider the working conditions of companies that will benefit from US tax dollars. Before putting iPads in the classroom, maybe it’s best to understand where the products are coming from and how they are being made. Sounds good!
The problem is determining worker conditions is not so easy, even with the advent of organizations like the Global Reporting Initiative. Transparency in the reporting of working conditions is difficult to come by, and too many governments are willing to pretend abuses aren’t occurring. This?leaves us relying on undercover BBC reports.