Apple Inc. iPad for babies is a new product on the market that may create excitement for parents. While some might be grinning in anticipation over putting this under their Christmas tree, pediatricians and others concerned with child development are cringing. Instead of Christmas bringing families together, the Apple Inc. iPad for babies may be pulling them apart
Children thrive on affection and interaction with their caregivers. These interactions shape their personalities, emotions, and the brain wiring behind them. When a child sees a parent staring at a phone or screen and then they have one stuck in front of them the child learns nothing about social interaction, except that maybe it is not important.
At a time when autism, and concerns over it, continue to grow it is curious that parents are putting devices, like the iPad for babies, in their children’s hands which neglect and sometimes inhibit social development. The iPad for babies has arrived in time for the Christmas holiday, when many are wanting to bring not only presents but “presence” and family togetherness.
Humans are social creatures and a lack of nurturing and attention can even cause a child to die, termed “failure to thrive.” More and more people are losing their sense of proper social etiquette. Saying “God bless you” or “gesundheit” when someone sneezes is becoming a rarity. Meeting new people and introducing newcomers who join the group, shaking hands during greetings, even giving hugs is becoming less common. Maybe nobody misses these things or are somehow unaware that social interactions are becoming so detached.
Consider this real life example to illustrate the point. While out to eat at a Japanese hibachi restaurant, there was a group of high school girls who came in; they nearly filled up a table for 12. Within 10 minutes of arriving only two were talking to each other. The rest of the girls in the group were staring at their phones and not even looking up at one another. It seems silly that they were excited to go out to eat as a group, but ended up not spending time together, but completely disengaged.
Another instance is a friend who loves video games. When guests go to his house he sits at his desk with his back to them watching movies or playing games. He doesn’t even turn around when he speaks to peopole. He will respond if asked how he is doing, but fails to ask how others are doing. He seems handicapped at this point, but by his own volition.
In the iPad situation parents have control and should not buy this for their children unless paralyzed from the neck down, even then it is a better idea to hire a nanny.
The makers of Apple Inc. iPad for babies and the Fisher Price baby seat with iPad holder should put disclosures on the products stating that they do not provide any learning value to a child and can actually compromise their development.
In the last 20 years, infant’s attention spans have decreased by at least three seconds. This may not seem like much, but consider how long it takes to say “Don’t touch that, it is hot.” It is long enough that it could mean the difference between a child being safe or burning himself.
A child’s IQ is actually boosted with social and emotional interaction. Gimmicks like Baby Einstein have shown to provide no boost in IQ scores whatsoever. The only Einstein here is the inventor, capitalizing on parental desire to create child prodigies.
The attention span of adults has decreased by at least five minutes (it used to be between 15 and 20 minutes for tasks). This is another way children can be hurt by the surge of technology and social media sites. Parents are decreasing their own ability to pay attention to their kids.
Another disturbing statistic is the increase in childhood accidents, this includes lethal ones. Researchers do not have a way to prove it, but are suggesting that more children are getting hurt because their parents are staring at smartphones and the like. If that is not the cause, the decrease in adult attention span is a likely contributor.
If pediatricians, who encourage giving infants ever-increasing numbers of vaccines containing toxic ingredients think that screen time is bad for youngsters, shouldn’t parents? What do people really think? How many are planning to bring the Apple Inc. iPad for babies, into their homes this Christmas?
By Lara Stielow