Posts Tagged ‘ educational games ’

Group Challenges Validity of Educational Apps for Babies

Friday, August 9th, 2013

A children’s advocacy group called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that companies that produce videos and mobile apps aimed at babies and toddlers are fraudulently promoting the products as “educational.”  More from The New York Times:

As mobile devices supplant television as entertainment vehicles for younger children, media and software companies increasingly see opportunities in the baby learning app market. But the complaint to the F.T.C. by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the same nonprofit group that helped prompt “Baby Einstein” to backtrack from its educational claims, challenges the idea that such apps provide more than simple entertainment value.

In addition to the complaint against Fisher-Price “Laugh & Learn” apps, which have been downloaded more than 2.8 million times, the advocacy group filed a similar complaint on Wednesday against apps for babies marketed by Open Solutions, a software developer.

According to the complaints, the companies say in marketing material that their apps teach infants spatial skills, numbers, language or motor skills. But, the complaints claim, there is no rigorous scientific evidence to prove that these kinds of products provide those benefits.

“The baby genius industry is notorious for marketing products as educational, when in fact there is no evidence that they are,” said Susan Linn, the director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which is based in Boston. “Parents deserve honest information about the educational value of the activities they choose for their children and they are not getting it from these companies.”

The group’s complaints also contend that using such apps “may be detrimental to very young children.” Ms. Linn said the programs could take time away from activities, like hands-on creative play or face-time with caring adults, that have proved beneficial for infant learning. She noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid screen media for children under 2.

Image: Toddler using mobile device, via Shutterstock

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New Research Shows Low Parental Guilt Around Tech Devices

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Only two percent of parents report feeling severe guilt for allowing their children to use tablets and other mobile tech devices, according to a new study released today by the app development company Ruckus Media Group and the research company Play Science.

The findings, which were presented at the Sandbox Summit at MIT, are based on a national online survey of 300 parents of 4-8-year-old children.  All of the parents surveyed have computers in their homes, 78 percent have smartphones, and 65 percent have tablet devices.

The study found that 56 percent of parents feel “some guilt” for letting their children watch videos, play games, and read on mobile devices, though only a small number of parents feel significant guilt around the issue.  Further, the study found a relationship between parental guilt and how parents perceive the educational value of the applications they use.

According to the study, guilt-free parents are:

  • 200 percent more likely to believe that the apps they let their kids use are “educational”
  • 68 percent more likely to list educational value as the most important aspect of an application
  • 81 percent more likely to think it’s important to play games on mobile devices with their children
  • 22 percent more interested in getting feedback on what their child is learning from applications

Image: Girl using a tablet, via Shutterstock.

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