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December 19, 2013

THEIR VIEW: Babies don't need tech gadgets

Too busy to call up that iPad app that provides soothing music for baby? Don’t worry, baby can call it up himself with his own stubby fingers.

Technology is pushing its way into products being marketed to parents to help with babies’ development. Parents need to just say no sometimes, and this is one of those times.

Any early childhood expert will tell you that person-to-person interaction is what growing brains crave the most in those first three or so years of life. The best gifts you can give your baby are the gift of singing, reading and talking to him.

It’s bad enough to see parents pushing strollers, babbling away on cellphones, ignoring their toddlers and missing out on any interaction that would include talking with the youngster about the environment they are actually in. Other parents don’t blink an eye at plopping down their young ones in a waiting room chair with an electronic device rather than taking the opportunity to read to the child.

If these new products catch on, the situation is going to get worse very fast. Fisher Price has a Newborn-to-Toddler Appitivity Seat for the iPad that is designed to have the electronic tablet hover above the child’s face. Mattel, the parent company of Fisher Price, promotes the seat as a way to entertain and foster a baby’s development, according to The Washington Post.

And CTA Digital’s 2-in-1 iPotty does double duty as a potty chair and an activity center. Seems like toddlers will be too busy to think about what they’re really sitting down to do. Doo.

Screen time and babies are a bad combination. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any electronic “screen time” for infants and toddlers younger than age 2. It cites research that found infant videos can delay language development and warns that no studies have documented a benefit of early viewing.

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