Monday, January 10, 2011

Penguin Offers an iPad App for Your Three-Month-Old

If nothing else, this proves that there is an "app" for everyone.

Penguin (in the U.K.) has just released a book app aimed at babies as young as three-months that can be used to "bring to life the popular Ladybird series of books on the touch screen."  Babies, I suppose will learn a little about cause and effect as they touch the screen to make new characters appear.  I doubt that I would trust a $600 iPad in the hands of a six-month-old baby, however.

According to The Telegraph:
The app has been specifically designed for and tested on babies as young as three months so they are able to easily interact with the story on a touch screen device. 
Simple taps of the screen make different characters appear, in lots of bold colours with sound effects.
... the target age was from three to 12 months old and that babies as young as six months old would be able to operate the app without their parent’s help. The app also features an auto play tool – which allows parent to play the entire content of the app as a movie.
While this application is being sold based upon its positive effects on babies, I do have to wonder about the wisdom of getting children this young addicted to the same gadgets that already seem permanently attached to their older brothers and sisters.  With all of this electronic instant gratification being peddled, I'm starting to wonder if future generations will even be able to sit still long enough to read a long magazine or newspaper article, much less a whole book that is not embedded with pictures and sound effects.

What do you think?  Is this Penguin application cool, clever, or just disturbing as all get out?


  1. I'm glad that, for the moment at least, parents probably won't jump on this unless they're rich enough not to worry about what might happen to their iPad. However, looking forward a little, I could see this sort of thing being hugely popular...a thought I don't particularly like.

    As you said, something like this will likely have a horrible effect on children's attention spans. Raising kids on tech that provides little human interaction and lots of stimulation overload has already been shown to cause problems. The "without their parent's help" bit concerns me as much as the electronic instant gratification aspects.

  2. Although I think the iPad overall is really cool (my husband got one for Christmas and he put some apps on it for my 4 and 6 year old that are really impressive), I am worried about the effects it will have on kids trying to sit in a classroom and pay attention to a teacher that doesn't do cool tricks.

  3. Library Girl, I've read that even some of those special programs on CD and tape (in the good old days) are doing as much harm to babies as they claim they do good. Over-stimulaltion of the senses at that age might very well have some negative effects.

  4. Lisa, I never did have a schoolteacher that could do cool tricks...I was so deprived. :-)

  5. This is disturbing. The last couple months, the effects of the internet, smart phones, Ipads, etc. on kids (and therefore the next generation of adults) has been on my mind a lot. It's kind of weird since I don't have kids, nor want any.

    A lack of social skills and inability to focus are only teh obvious beginnings. I think it also leads to narcissism, disrespect, the bullying and suicides that have been making the news so often lately, a lack of creativity, obesisty, and the list goes on. (I could discuss my reasonings, but it'd make this post even longer).

    Anywho, I was just saying the other day that we should go back to when kids didn't have cell phones until they started driving, but now they're giving Ipads to babies! This is really, really bad in my opinion. I know it's cliche at this point, but I'm truly very worried about this and future generations.

  6. I hate to think that even children won't have a minute of peace from being "connected". If this kind of thing starts so young I really have to wonder what kind of children we will raise. My teenage son is already so attached to his cell phone, computer, and iPOD. I can't imagine how he would act if he had started with these sort of devices at 3 months old! Yikes!

  7. Annie, I share most of your concerns. I watch what all this is doing to my grandchildren and I wonder how wise it is of us to keep buying them more and more sophisticated game systems, iPods, iPads, phones, etc. All three of the kids seem too much addicted to their gadgets for it to be healthy.

    What tempers my concern just a little bit is the fact that my granddaughter is just as addicted to reading as she is to her iPod Touch...and my oldest grandson loves to get new books as gifts. Now, we need to get the youngest one on board.

  8. Kathleen, I'm afraid we won't know the impact of all this on kids until it is too late to put the horse back in the barn. Keep your fingers crossed.