Toddlers’ favorite toy: Apple’s revolutionary iPhone

SpiritHalloween.com“The iPhone has revolutionized telecommunications. It has also become the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler, much to the delight of parents reveling in their newfound freedom to have a conversation in a restaurant or roam the supermarket aisles in peace,” Hilary Stout reports for The New York Times. “But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, concern. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are sure to follow…

Stout reports, “Apple, the iPhone’s designer and manufacturer, has built its success on machines so simple and intuitive that even technologically befuddled adults can figure out how to work them, so it makes sense that sophisticated children would follow. The most recent model is 4.5 inches tall, 2.31 inches wide and weighs 4.8 ounces: sleek, but not too small for those with developing motor skills. Tap a picture on the screen and something happens. What could be more fun?”

“Many iPhone apps on the market are aimed directly at preschoolers, many of them labeled ‘educational,’ such as Toddler Teasers: Shapes, which asks the child to tap a circle or square or triangle; and Pocket Zoo, which streams live video of animals at zoos around the world. There are ‘flash cards’ aimed at teaching children to read and spell, and a ‘Wheels on the Bus’ app that sings the popular song in multiple languages. Then there’s the new iGo Potty app (sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies training pants), with automated phone calls reminding toddlers that it’s time to ‘go,'” Stout reports. “Along with fears about dropping and damage, however, many parents sharing iPhones with their young ones feel nagging guilt. They wonder whether it is indeed an educational tool, or a passive amusement like television.”

Stout reports, “As with TV in earlier generations, the world is increasingly divided into those parents who do allow iPhone use and those who don’t.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tetrachloride” for the heads up.]

58 Comments

  1. Sounds good as long as there is a time limit so that toddlers realise quickly that they have to stop for a while in order for the app to work again. That should mitigate against the possibility epilepsy for those susceptible to flashing lights, short sightedness from focussing too long on a close object without rest and allowing the brain to rest in order to allow the brain to process what it has learnt.

    As for automatic calls asking toddlers to go to the potty! that is absolutely abominable!!! That should not be allowed, encouraged or even approved for the app store. Who knows what other message can be piped to toddlers without parental knowledge?

  2. Sounds good as long as there is a time limit so that toddlers realise quickly that they have to stop for a while in order for the app to work again. That should mitigate against the possibility epilepsy for those susceptible to flashing lights, short sightedness from focussing too long on a close object without rest and allowing the brain to rest in order to allow the brain to process what it has learnt.

    As for automatic calls asking toddlers to go to the potty! that is absolutely abominable!!! That should not be allowed, encouraged or even approved for the app store. Who knows what other message can be piped to toddlers without parental knowledge?

  3. Our 2 year old is pretty iPhone proficient and the 8 month old isn’t too far away from playing too. My only issue is the lack of any decent case/cover that assumes the often mobile and incredibly active use case the little ones present. Watching the 2 yo grind my wife’s iPhone into the kitchen tile was painful, and luckily, a forgiving manager at the Apple store honored the Applecare replacement after the same phone was later rendered inoperable due to too much slobber down the dock port…

  4. Our 2 year old is pretty iPhone proficient and the 8 month old isn’t too far away from playing too. My only issue is the lack of any decent case/cover that assumes the often mobile and incredibly active use case the little ones present. Watching the 2 yo grind my wife’s iPhone into the kitchen tile was painful, and luckily, a forgiving manager at the Apple store honored the Applecare replacement after the same phone was later rendered inoperable due to too much slobber down the dock port…

  5. My 2-1/2 year old has his iPod Touch. His vocabulary and verbal skills are better than any of the other children in his daycare class even though some kids are 6 months older. My wife and I are very pleased with him having it. We can see how this could backfire later, but right now it seems to working great.

  6. My 2-1/2 year old has his iPod Touch. His vocabulary and verbal skills are better than any of the other children in his daycare class even though some kids are 6 months older. My wife and I are very pleased with him having it. We can see how this could backfire later, but right now it seems to working great.

  7. My 5 and 8 yr old sons both have my old iPhone 3G and iPod touch respectively. They recently use to monopolize my iPad until I got the iPod touch for the 8yr old. They have mastered the use of these ios devices including the Remote App form the Apple TV. I however balance their time with these devices with mandatory outdoor activities like riding, rollerblading and just general tomfoolery for boys.

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