A new baby seat with a built-in holder for an iPad was slammed by a Boston-based advocacy group Tuesday. They're urging Fisher-Price to recall and stop selling the baby bouncy seat with an attachment for an iPad, calling it the "ultimate electronic babysitter" that undermines interaction with caregivers, according to the Boston Herald on Dec. 11.
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood started an online petition campaign yesterday, calling on Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPads device.
The bouncy seat faces a bar with a mirror where an iPad can be inserted. On its website, Fisher-Price describes the baby chair as, "a grow-with-me seat for baby that’s soothing, entertaining and has a touch of technology, too".
CCFC director Susan Linn, a psychologist and professor at Harvard Medical School, says babies thrive from interaction, when they’re talked to, played with and held, not when they’re alone with a screen.
"It’s a terrible idea and sends a terrible message", Linn said, adding, "The Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad device is the ultimate electronic babysitter that may lull parents into a false sense of security".
CCFC maintains that because infants are strapped into the baby seat, and screens have a mesmerizing effect on them, it makes them less likely to call out for attention or interact with their surroundings.
The iPad tends to block the babies' view of the world around them. This self-imposed isolation then may result in parents leaving them alone in the seat instead of talking or playing with them.
Not only is that fact disturbing, but The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any screen time for children under the age of 2.
As reported by AllThingsD, Associate director of the CCFC Josh Golin called the new device the "worst of the worst".
While other products on the market aim to integrate toddlers and young children with technology, Golin said he is shocked to see the iPad aimed at newborns, especially given they are strapped down and basically forced to stare at the screen.
The Fisher-Price Web page claims the iPad gives parents another way to stimulate and engage their baby, and encourages them to download the company's free, age-appropriate apps.
While at first not responding to calls for comment, the company did finally issue a statement in which they said they're proud of their 80 years of developing products for young children, and, "As part of this commitment Fisher-Price develops a variety of infant seats so parents can choose the one that best suits their needs for soothing and entertaining their baby".
They also added that the Apptivity Seat and others are not intended to be sold as educational products. The fired back at the watchgroup citing factual omissions.
What do you think of the baby seat?