Are Apps Actually Effective For Babies?

baby having fun with laptop #13The Boston Globe published the Associated Press’s report that a Boston-based group, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is pressing the federal regulators to take a deeper look into the claims made as part of the marketing campaigns by companies such as Fisher-Price and Open Solutions, who develop apps and games targeted at kids.

Among the allegations levied by the group is that app and game developers are misleading parents by making it appear that the apps and games are “more educational than entertaining.” As Susan Linn, the director of the group, states to Anne Flaherty, the reporter, “‘Everything we know about brain research and child development points away from using screens to educate babies. The research shows that machines and screen media are a really ineffective way of teaching a baby language. What babies need for healthy brain development is active play, hands-on creative play and face-to-face’’ interaction.”

In response, Open Solution stated in the statement sent to AP, that it “agrees that electronics are not a substitute for human interaction. But it noted the many positive reviews its apps have received by customers.” And Fisher-Price asserts via Kathleen Alfano, senior director of child research, that “[g]rounded in 80 years of research and childhood development observations, [Fisher-Price] ha[s] appropriately extended these well-researched play patterns into the digital space.”

This latest development certainly should make us pause and realize, as Leticia Barr succinctly notes, that “apps can certainly reinforce educational learning in kids, [b]ut it’s not a substitute for the parent. It’s not a substitute for reading. It’s not a substitute for the things you do in everyday life.’’

To read the article in full, go here: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2013/08/07/benefit-mobile-apps-for-toddlers-questioned/1kBJypcoUGGRl7x5wDFNtO/singlepage.html

Yevgeny Ioffe

Yevgeny Ioffe

Yevgeny Ioffe, or as people call him, Yev, has been working in both the startup world and established companies. His career spans from joining Xplana Learning as it launched to Cengage Learning to MBS Direct when it acquired Xplana in 2009. Yevgeny brings to EdTech Times his passion for start-ups and technology, along with his interest in the ever evolving world of edtech. Yevgeny obtained his BSc and MA from Brandeis University and MBA from Boston College.