Just one day after the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood announced its 2013 TOADY award winner for worst toy of the year, something even worse showed up on store shelves and Amazon's top toy list. Behold, the Baby Apptivity Seat.
Wall-E was not just a cautionary tale, was it? Chubby people with little muscle strength in their arms or legs strapped into seats forced to watch a screen all day long—sound familiar? The Baby Apptivity Seat is your basic bouncing baby seat with an iPad holder. There are 1,000 reasons why this is so wrong. I will give you my top three:
Screen time is bad for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO screen time for babies under 2. I know most of us break that rule, but buying an $80 iPad holder just for your baby is committing to the idea that your baby is going to spend a lot of time with your iPad.
Time spent with an iPad is time not spent on the floor building core muscle strength to be able to roll, sit and eventually crawl. It's also time spent not interacting with the real world and the real people who inhabit it, which is how babies learn, you know,everything.
Parents will believe it's educational. Since Fisher-Price is marketing it as an educational toy and encouraging parents to download educational apps that teach colors, numbers and letters, parents will believe they are doing their baby a favor. Colors, numbers and the ABCs are not appropriate educational material for babies, and research shows that infants cannot learn from a 2-dimensional screen.
The CCFC has started a petition to have the seat recalled. Though they have not yet been successful, they did convince Amazon to pull it off its top toy list. Fisher-Price has defended itself by saying it's a "niche" product.
The actual TOADY winner was a similar toy, the 2-in-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad by CTA Digital. The iPotty is a potty seat with an iPad holder. Not only does the iPotty run the risk of creating a whole new generation of people who can't go to the bathroom without their smartphones, but it also eliminates fun parent-child interaction and the attention to body cues for the bathroom that toddlers need to be successful.