August 8, 2013

'The Baby Genius Industry'

Baby Sees The iPad Magic
image: Steve Paine, via slashgear

High five to Susan Linn and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for this quote: "The baby genius industry is notorious for marketing products as educational, when in fact there is no evidence that they are."

The baby genius industry. I love it. Anyway, CCFC has filed false advertising complaints with the FTC against baby app makers Fisher-Price [huge!] and Open Solutions [huh?]. Both companies are making scientifically inaccurate and unsupportable claims about the educational benefits of their apps, say the activists.

The information page for a Fisher-Price iPad app called "Laugh & Learn Let's Count Animals for Baby," for instance, says the app "teaches numbers and counting, 1-10, animals, first words and action/reaction."

An information page for an app from Open Solutions called "Baby Hear and Read Verbs" makes more elaborate claims: "Here comes a new and innovative form of kids' education. The application provides learning opportunity to learn how to read, pronounce and spell basic verbs. We have tested this app and the kids and parents simply love it!"

If there's any real learning to be done here, it's the random Slovakian start-up who named their app using Google Translate getting schooled by the international corporate juggernaut on how to write ad copy.

Or they could all just go with, "Teaches infants rudimentary conditioned behavior, stimulus/response, to stare and stab at a screen for extended periods," which is actually what passes for an important life skill in our children's bleak technauthoritarian future.

Children's Advocacy Group Faults Learning Apps for Babies [nyt]
Related: "The first thing my son says when I come into his room in the morning is 'iPad.'" [slashgear]

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