An advocacy group criticised toy maker Fisher-Price for selling a baby seat that is designed to hold an iPad, explaining that the product encourages parents to leave babies alone to watch pictures on the devices’ screens that could appear to be harmful.
The unusual seat is the “ultimate electronic babysitter” that can block a infant’s view of the world, undermining the child’s interaction with caregivers, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, based in Boston, exlained in a statement.
The activists insisted that one of recent researches conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that screen time for children under the age of 2 was connected with language delays, sleep disturbance and learning problems later in childhood.
However, in a statement which was released on Tuesday the group admitted that there was no evidence it was advantageous.
According to the group, infants left alone with the next generation tabets also could be deprived of activities shown to be beneficial to brain development, such as hands-on creative play or positive interaction with adults.
“By manufacturing a device to restrain infants in front of a screen, even when they’re too young to sit up, Fisher-Price actually discourages interactions that are crucial to learning and healthy development,” Dr. Susan Linn, the group’s director, said in the statement.
“Babies thrive when they’re talked to, played with, and held — not when they’re alone with a screen,” Linn said.
Juliette Reashor, a spokeswoman for Fisher-Price, a brand owned by toy manufacturer Mattel, explained to reporters on Wednesday that consumers who acquired the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad gave it positive reviews “that show strong parent involvement and support.”
The seat was never meant to be an educational product for children and is only available online, she added.
“We wanted to offer it as yet another option for those parents who want the added feature of engaging in age-appropriate content with their children,” Reashor said in the statement.
The seat for babies includes a mirror that can hold an iPad, providing “another way to stimulate and engage baby while protecting your device from baby’s sticky fingers and preventing unintentional navigating to other apps,” a product description on Fisher-Price’s website claimed.
The company offers free apps to use with the seat that feature “soft, soothing sounds and nature scenes, black-and-white images and high-contrast patterns that help develop eye-tracking skills,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Californian tech giant sent their iPad Mini with retina display to the stores last month at $399 in the United States.
The pricing begins at $399 for the 16GB WiFi model and $529 for the 16GB LTE model. The top of the range is the 128GB with cellular connectivity for $829.
“The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we’re excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing.
“We think customers will love both of these thin, light, powerful new iPads, and we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers,” he added.