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Fisher-Price's iPad bouncy chair raises controversy

  • Fisher-Price website

We all know a screen can keep children occupied, but anyone who has experienced the transformation of their child when engaged with a cartoon or an app knows that the power of the screen is so mighty it should only be administered with extra care.

Easier said than done, surely, but this doesn't mean products can be created indiscriminately that put young children or even babies in a multi-sensory experience that is really a sort of electronic baby-sitting machine. Quite literary.

The new Fisher-Price's Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat has raised controversy and concerns from day one: it is a baby seat specifically designed to support young babies while holding an iPad only inches from their faces.

The traditional bouncy chair here offers the option of a removable toy bar and a mirror holder which can be replaced with mum's or dad's iPad. It even comes with free downloadable apps with baby-friendly names such as "soft, soothing sounds and nature scenes" and "black-and-white images and high-contrast patterns."

How handy is that? Would some parents say, while the rest of us cringe in horror. Because, as 'handy' it may appear, this is really like taking your baby's brain and wrapping it up in a straitjacket.

According to Fisher-Price, of course, we are just being malicious, since the Apptivity Seat really "provides another way to stimulate and engage baby while protecting your device from baby's sticky fingers and preventing unintentional navigating to other apps."

Yes, of course, your baby is in safe hands and your iPad too... surely is a win-win! Well, no it isn't, think again.

The committee Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) has criticized Fisher-Price for suggesting that babies (even newborns!) can be left alone in front of a screen for any amount of time, be it short or long

.

Indeed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, no child under the age of two should be left exposed to screens.

The committee has started a petition in an attempt to have the product removed from the market. The online petition has already gathered 12000 signatures and it will be sent to Fisher-Price executive vice-president, David Allmark.

As read on the committee's campaign page: "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."

Indeed, there are so many ridiculous devices being targeted at babies it's almost pandemic, and the Apptivity Seat is only the latest in the row. Earlier this year, CTA Digital released the iPotty, a training potty with the special feature of a stand specifically adapted to hold an iPad.

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