December 9, 2013
How young is too young for children to become exposed to an iOS device? Fisher-Price apparently thinks it can start right after birth. The company recently introduced the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat. Instead of a colorful mobile featuring animals like other bouncer seats, it includes an iPad holder overhead. ABC News has found this hasn’t gone over very well with child advocacy groups. Take a look: ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser notes, “parents need to be really careful here.” He added “I worry that screens will replace these important human interactions.” The American Academy of Pediatrics seems to agree. They say that children under 2 should be kept away from screens of any kind. “Unstructured playtime is more valuable for the developing brain than any electronic media exposure.” They did note, however:
The AAP realizes that media exposure is a reality for many families in today's society. If parents choose to engage their young children with electronic media, they should have concrete strategies to manage it. Ideally, parents should review the content of what their child is watching and watch the program with their child.A Fisher-Price spokeperson told ABC News that the new bouncer came after extensive research. They added “We know the Apptivity Seat isn’t for everyone. We want to give parents options.” They also said the app times out after 10 minutes, and that there isn’t an “always on” feature. Not surprisingly, I don’t feel there is anything wrong with young children using an iPhone or iPad. My daughter is about to turn 7. Before her first birthday, I played music for her on my first-generation iPhone. Before turning 4, she was playing games on all of my iOS devices. Despite this, I don’t think the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat is appropriate. My daughter’s early exposure to iOS devices was done with a parent by her side. I worry some parents might use Fisher-Price’s seat as a replacement babysitter. What do you think?