Detailed by ABC News today, a Boston-based advocacy group called Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is petitioning Fisher-Price to remove the iPad Apptivity Seat from the company’s product lineup. Demonstrated by a rapidly growing collection of negative reviews on Amazon, parents seem to be upset that this iPad accessory is being sold. Citing studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommend restricting screen time for children under two, parents are concerned that a continual stream of videos on the iPad could harm language development in infants and toddlers.
Specifically, the American Academy of Pediatrics study states “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”
Talking about the seat, CCFC director Susan Linn said “The seat is the ultimate electronic babysitter. Its very existence suggests it’s fine to leave babies all alone with an iPad inches from their face. Babies thrive when they are talked to, played with and cuddled, not when they are alone with a screen.”
However, it’s important to note that the seat can be used normally without an iPad. When an iPad isn’t available, the infant will see their own reflection in the mirror built into the seat’s iPad mount. There are also toys dangling on both sides of the seat that the child can play with. When an iPad is installed in the seat, Fisher-Price recommends using specific visual skill apps that time out after 10 minutes in order to restrict screen time for infants.
Of course, this isn’t the first product for young children that integrates the iPad into the design. The most notable is likely CTA Digital’s iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad, a potty training toilet that includes an iPad to use while killing time on the toilet.