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Teething? There’s an app for that

April 7, 2012

In October 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy statement concerning babies and media use. It is quite clear: “The AAP discourages media use by children younger than 2 years.” It goes on to say, “Unstructured playtime is more valuable for the developing brain than any electronic media exposure. If a parent is not able to actively play with a child, that child should have solo playtime with an adult nearby. Even for infants as young as 4 months of age, solo play allows a child to think creatively, problem-solve, and accomplish tasks with minimal parent interaction.”

So why does the Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case by Fisher-Price exist? It’s an iPhone holder intended for children ages 6 months and up.

Parents listen to their pediatricians’ advice on most aspects of their children’s health, yet when pediatricians specifically tell us it is bad for our babies to interact with electronic media, many parents ignore them. About 40 percent of 2- to 4-year-olds (and 10 percent of 0 to 1-year-olds) have used a smartphone, tablet or video iPod, according to an October 2011 study by Common Sense Media.

Perhaps marketing and advertising have a part to play. Frito-Lay spends millions making sure we feel good about eating Doritos, while I’ve never seen an ad for apples. Now, Fisher-Price has ads for the Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case to tell us, “Free Laugh & Learn™ apps mean plenty of learning fun!” but I’ve never seen a AAP advertisement telling parents that play is best for their babies.

Another reason this iPhone holder will be popular is that life often trumps “the right thing to do.” I know I should exercise everyday, but life gets in the way. Most parents know about the AAP recommendation, but life (meaning a screaming child) gets in the way.

What do you think of the Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case? Take the poll and see what everyone else said:

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