Fisher-Price is facing protests over its "Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device," which features a face-level iPad holder for babies.
The product is a regular baby seat featuring a bar above the baby's head. It has the usual brightly colored plastic toys dangling in front of the infant, and a holder for a mirror if the baby wants to see him or herself.
But flip the mirror over and you can stick an iPad into it, Fisher-Price says:
It’s a grow-with-me seat for baby that’s soothing, entertaining, and has a touch of technology, too. ... If you insert and lock your iPad® into the mirror’s case, the visual display provides another way to stimulate and engage baby while protecting your device from baby’s sticky fingers and preventing unintentional navigating to other apps.
Fisher-Price sells the apps, too, and they help introduce baby to the world of constant electronic surveillance: "Visual content in the apps times out after 10-12 minutes, ending on the home screen, to help you keep track of how long your child is viewing the interactive media," the product description says.
The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood hates it:
There are so many awful screen products for babies these days, but the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device is the worst yet.
The Apptivity Seat is a bouncy seat for an infant—with a place for an iPad directly above the baby’s face, blocking his or her view of the rest of the world. Babies are literally a captive audience. Please take a moment to tell Fisher-Price to pull the plug immediately on this terrible product.
The Apptivity Seat is the ultimate electronic baby sitter. Because screens can be mesmerizing and babies are strapped down and “safely" restrained, it encourages parents to leave infants all alone with an iPad.
Customer reviewers on Amazon have been unkind. One wrote:
Q: Will my child go to Harvard if I buy this product?
A: No, they'll be stuck going to Yale.
Melissa Snyder: This is a ridiculous product! I am an Early Childhood Development Specialist and I urge parents to really think about what this product would do to their child's development before buying. This is a terrible product for an infant or toddler of any age!! Infants and toddlers learn through sensorimotor experiences, NOT sitting stagnant in a chair watching a 2-D screen!
A spokesperson for Mattel-owned Fisher-Price told Reuters that the seat is not meant to be educational: "We wanted to offer it as yet another option for those parents who want the added feature of engaging in age-appropriate content with their children."
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