The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

August 7, 2013

Benefit of mobile apps for toddlers questioned

(Continued)

In 2006, the group asked the FTC to prohibit the makers of Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby videos from making claims about educational benefits. The FTC eventually declined to act after the companies, owned by the Walt Disney Co., agreed to remove some marketing promises from its packages and took down testimonials that claimed educational benefits. After the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood encouraged a group of lawyers to threaten a class-action lawsuit, Disney began offering cash refunds for videos purchased.

Linn said her organization targeted Fisher-Price and Open Solutions because their baby apps were among the most popular and because they represented an overall trend of deceptive marketing practices by app developers, both big and small.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any electronic "screen time" for infants and toddlers under age 2, while older children should be limited to one to two hours a day. It cites one study that found infant videos can delay language development, and warns that no studies have documented a benefit of early viewing.

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