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The 'Worst Toy of the Year' and Why It's So Bad


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Asian baby using tablet
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An app for infants that gets them to use on iPad while watching TV on Monday was branded the Worst Toy of the Year by the children's advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The group awards its dubious TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) to toys and gizmos seen as harmful to babies and young children.
The winner (loser?) this year: the AT&T U-verse app by BabyFirst.

"The BabyFirst U-verse app definitely deserves a TOADY," Executive Director Susan Linn said. "While there's no evidence that even one screen benefits babies, training them to split their attention between two screens is absurd-and potentially harmful."

Here's a description of the app from AT&T (T):

The app features a wide array of animals, shapes, colors and objects from which babies and toddlers can select. With one simple touch, they can see their masterpiece instantly appear on the TV screen while tuned to BabyFirst.

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood put forward a slate of nominees for the prize and then put it to a vote. The BabyFirst app got 33 percent of the vote, beating out the Barbie Loves Girl Scouts doll, the miWorld Mini Mall, the Anything app by Cartoon Network and LeapBand by LeapFrog.

The issue of screen time for small children has become increasingly heated as more and more devices become part of our lives. It is common today, for instance, to see toddlers and even infants holding smartphones and tablets.

But the influential American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the littlest kids should be kept from screens and devices, not encouraged to use them

"Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2," the group said in its policy statement on the issue. "A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens."

In comments by those voting, it was clear that the idea the app was marketed to those who have infants was particularly disturbing.

Other voters indicated they were irked with the Girl Scouts taking a $2 million payment to license a Barbie doll given the issues some people have had with Barbie dolls creating an unrealistic view of what a woman should look like.

A Chicago woman commented: "This horrifying toy is letting girls down in two ways: promoting body image problems, and showing that their beloved Girl Scouts could be sold to the highest bidder!"

The winner of the TOADY last year was the iPotty, a training toilet with a built-in screen.


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