Ina Fried

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Group Wants Mattel to Recall a Newborn Bouncy Chair With Built-in iPad Holder

It’s no secret that kids younger and younger are being targeted with products designed to introduce them to the world of technology. But some say the latest product has gone way too far.

apptivity_seat

The $80 Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad is similar to many bouncy seats for babies, although this one replaces the standard mobile of toys with a holder for an Apple tablet.

“We think this toy is the worst of the worst,” says Josh Golin, associate director for the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood. The group has collected more than 1,400 signatures for a petition asking Mattel’s Fisher Price unit to recall the infant seat.

A Mattel representative was not immediately available for comment.

While there are other products aimed at toddlers and young children, Golin said he is shocked to see the iPad aimed at newborns, especially in a setting where they are strapped down and essentially forced to stare at the screen.

“They are not going to be complaining or crying or asking for the attention that they need,” Golin said.

Golin says his group backs the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation discouraging all screen time for kids under 2.

The 13-year-old group gives a satirical award to what it deems the worst products aimed at kids, with this year’s dubious honor going to a toilet-training potty that also includes an iPad holder. But, Golin said, the bouncy chair is even worse.

“This product was so potentially harmful it wasn’t appropriate for our award and demanded a much stronger response, which is why we are calling for a recall,” Golin said.

Update, 2:23 p.m.: In a statement, Fisher-Price said it is proud of the 80 years it has spent developing products for young children.

“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,” it said, adding that the Apptivity Seat and other seats are not sold as educational products.

“It is unfortunate that factual omissions about the product, such as the mandatory reset feature which only allows for 10 minutes of activity before requiring a manual reset, and parent reviews from those who have actually purchased the product which show strong parent involvement and support, have not been accurately characterized in recent reports, the company said. “This seat is one of over a dozen we offer within our current line of Babygear products and this is the only seat with an option for device integration for parents who prefer the technology integration option.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work