Friday, August 9, 2013

Got a Smart-app Baby?

Image from Fisher Price, via Associated Press
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based advocacy group, has lodged a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the mobile-app industry. The group is challenging marketing claims from the mobile-app industry that babies can learn and develop by using apps on electronic devices. They believe parents are being duped into believing that apps are educational and make kids smart.

Susan Linn, the group's director, said "Everything we know about brain research and child development points away from using screens to educate babies." She went on to say that "What babies need for healthy brain development is active play, hands-on creative play and face-to-face" interaction.

It isn't that the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood wants companies such as Fisher-Price, Open Solutions or Disney to stop selling their products. What they are pressing for is that companies making mobile apps and games stop marketing them as having an educational value or an ability to teach young children. They want these products labeled for entertainment, not educational purposes.

Being the owner of a toy store, I, of course, always encourage hands-on active and creative play for young children with "real" toys. I do get concerned about kids spending too much time on screen and I especially don't advocate it for babies. Besides, it's a proven fact that kids develop, learn and grow by playing with toys, either by themselves  or face-to-face with each other and with their families.

Occasionally I spot children in the store gazing at a smart phone instead of all the wonderful toys around them. Most of the time we just have lots of kids who get excited about toys they can touch, feel and interact with, such as LEGOS, dolls, puzzles, puppets, trains, card and board games, books and more. Play's the thing!

Here's link to the AP article to read more: Electronics no way to teach babies, critics say

No comments:

Post a Comment