Has Fisher Price gone too far with their Newborn to Toddler Apptivity Seat? We at Geeks Raising Geeks think so. Here’s our take on this toddler iPad seat.
At first glance, the new infant iPad pavilion looks like just another product in a long list of tech-centric baby gear, not so much heralding in a new dawn as plodding along behind the hordes of similar items well after the sun has risen on this new day.
In other words, it may just seem like the same old same new.
But almost nobody (aside from Fisher-Price, of course) sees this as anything short of a sign of the Imminence of the End Times. Indeed, the very knowledge that the Apptivity seat is REAL and FOR SALE RIGHT NOW, has riled up everyone across the vast immensity of the Internet. And I’m not just talking mothers here.
I’m talking EVERYONE.
Word on the Street: Fisher Price Has Gone Cray Cray
The Huffington Post endorses the idea that it’s “an embarassment for human kind.” The Hollywood Gossip says that “parents and kids deserve better.” App Advice says they “don’t think [it's] appropriate.” The UK’s Daily Mail states the obvious, that it’s “not as good as the real world.” And Elite Daily puts it quite simply, and frighteningly, that “the future is doomed.”
Do I agree? In a word: yes. In a lot more words: I think the Apptivity Seat is a sign of the times, warning us of what our kids, our world, and the future culture of parenting may become if we let it; what it may take away and what it might denigrate.
But, to be fair, let’s let Fisher-Price have their say before I rant anymore about the detrimental nature of their new “grow-with-me seat.”
(But first, apologies for the use of “cray cray.” I realize I possess none of the qualities that allows me to use that phrase without feeling shame…)
A Little Apptivity Objectivity
Let’s break down what this product is and isn’t.
The Newborn-to-Infant Apptivity Seat is a deep, comfy, soothing chair that reclines in three different positions and even features a soft head pillow. By all accounts, it is a top-of-the-line bouncy seat that will suit your little one well for the first couple years of their life.
The Apptivity Seat features a removable toy bar with an optional mirror, to allow your little tyke the pleasures of getting to know his or her own reflection.
But it’s not the cushy seat or the fancy (and very small) mirror that people are talking about. It’s the iPad dock that allows your kid to play with apps and watch flicks while you’re presumably off “doing your own thing.”
Fisher Price offers free apps for download with purchase and allows that the programs are automatically set to shut down after ten minutes of use, so as not to overload your newborn baby with the technology for which this entire product was built (in fact, we own and use the Fisher Price Black & White app for our son, Zach. It has saved us many times, including on the drive home from the airport when it was way past his bedtime).
When HuffPost wrote their somewhat scathing review of the product, Fisher Price swung back with a statement of their own, claiming that they
can understand how, at first glance, it may appear that the screen is always in front of baby with an iPad in place.
They go on to say that that toy bar can be easily changed over to the mirror or removed entirely, whenever the parent wants. (A fact that is really nowhere to be seen in all their marketing of the product.)
Huffington Post also admits that some Amazon reviewers have mentioned the benefits of the chair for special needs children who are unable to sit upright without aid. (Again, nowhere to be seen in Fisher Price’s marketing campaign.)
Fisher Price seems to see this as an opportunity to take a slice of our generation’s tech-obsessed pie. And who can blame them? This isn’t the first item to put iPads and baby gear together.
In fact, we even wrote an article recently about the iPotty, wherein we were incredibly aware of the absurdity of the product but also somewhat intrigued by its benefits (getting kids to stay seated long enough to become acquainted with poop’s proper place).
No, I don’t blame Fisher Price at all. They’re a for-profit corporation who thought they saw a means for profit. That’s their business. That’s what they do.
I’m more concerned that this weird little tech-baby niche exists at all.
Is the Future of Humanity Really Doomed?
I don’t think so. Not after the responses I’ve seen to the Fisher Price Apptivity Seat. I think we were strolling along happily, too focused on our Facebook updates to be aware of our surroundings, and found ourselves all of a sudden knee-deep in a quagmire we unknowingly made for ourselves.
The Apptivity Seat is nothing but the harvest we sowed with our own consumerist trends.
But today, I see people up in arms over this. Maybe their anger is misplaced (Fisher Price, no matter how overpriced their products may be, will never cause the end of civilization), but their anger is real. And fiery. And unwavering.
And that, friends and neighbors, tells me that we are not doomed at all. In fact, I believe we may just be in the mood to save ourselves.
Just don’t let that mood fade away when the Apptivity Seat fades from the headlines.
Otherwise, maybe the future is doomed after all…