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No, Those Apps Aren’t Making Your Toddler Any Smarter

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shutterstock_144379618__1376100418_142.196.156.251I’d like to believe that the apps my toddler focuses on when he’s looking at my phone are educational – mostly because they allow him to sit quietly for an extended period of time in a public place, a feat I have yet to master on my own. Maybe I’m a shitty parent, but my iPhone succeeds where I fail. I hate it – but it’s true.

There’s a song that he listens to on repeat on YouTube. Its starts, A is for apple, a-a-apple, B is for ball, b-b-ball… all the way to Zebra. He knows it by heart. I guess triumphs like that make me feel like it’s okay to let him entertain himself while my husband and I enjoy lunch out or if I’m on an important call. It turns out I’m wrong. Another parenting failure to add to the growing list, I guess.

From Today Moms:

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) on Wednesday filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission against Fisher-Price and Open Solutions, alleging both companies have falsely marketed their apps for babies as educational.

“Fisher-Price and Open Solutions exploit parents’ natural tendency to want what’s best for their babies,” said CCFC Director Dr. Susan Linn, in a statement.

“Their false and deceptive marketing creates the impression that their apps effectively educate infants and toddlers, when time with tablets and smart phones is really the last thing very young children need for optimal learning and development.”

Apparently it doesn’t matter if your child is learning shapes, colors and the alphabet via your iPhone – he still shouldn’t be using it. Young kids learn best when interacting with people. Using iPhones or tablets, even with educational apps, can get young children hooked on screen time at a very early age.

Open Solutions says it assumes children are using its apps with a parent or babysitter. I call bullshit on that. Everyone knows most parents are starving for a few minutes to be able to focus on something besides Old MacDonald – and I’m pretty sure Open Solutions and Fisher Price bank on it.

The point is – don’t berate yourself if you occasionally use your iPhone or tablet to entertain your child, but don’t think you’re really doing him any favors either.

(photo: StudioM.fr/ Shutterstock)