Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Techno Babies

From nanny cams to electronic baby monitors technology has made child rearing a technology driven endeavor.

I was driving to work this morning and at the stop light glanced over to the car next to me.  A young father was driving with a child in the back seat.  The little boy had a child’s ipad or laptop and was content to play with it in his booster seat.

On Saturday Ron and I were in Okla. City eating lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse.  There was a family of five in a booth not far from us.  Mom and dad on one side and 3 children with various ipads and cell phones were on the other side playing games.  Granted the group was very quiet but it didn’t look natural.  There was no interaction going on between any of them.

Because my knowledge of electronics is so limited it got me to wondering just how much technology is playing a role in young children’s lives today.
Ahh, the first year of a baby's life — learning to sit up, crawl, even walk. But how about playtime in a bouncy seat with an iPad and some cool apps? 
Fisher-Price is selling a baby bouncy seat with an attachment where parents can insert an iPad so baby can watch video content aimed at the youngest children — an idea that is being criticized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The Boston-based advocacy group started an online petition campaign Tuesday, urging Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPads.

"The seat is the ultimate electronic babysitter. Its very existence suggests it's fine to leave babies all alone with an iPad inches from their face," said Susan Linn, the group's director, in an interview. "Babies thrive when they are talked to, played with and cuddled, not when they are alone with a screen."   Of course in the 50’s that is what everyone was saying about television.  “The Electronic Babysitter”.  Oh yeah, we were also warned about sitting too close to the screen as well.

Something on the horizon is Intel’s wearable technology in the crib “The Smart Baby Onesie” parents may now have the added opportunity to keep track of health related data regarding their infants in the crib—including their respiratory rate, and thus be more aware of any potential discomfort or illness developing.

Two green stripes across the chest–sensors which record respiratory rate–provide parents or caregivers with changes in respiratory rate. Potentially signaling breathing difficulty, this data could be valuable in management of patients with asthma or even croup. An additional removable turtle shaped device clipped on front allows monitoring of body temperature, heart rate, as well as activity level.

The reported cost for three onesies and the turtle clip-on will be $199.00 as a starter kit. A 2-pak of onesies will retail for $29.00 for sizes from 0 to 12 months.

I’m not sure what the practical use is for the average infant but I can see it being very reassuring for at risk children or children with special needs.

Since I have no grand children I'm not as informed about the latest gizmos or gadgets for kids.  I'm sure some of you who have grand children have witnessed their technological expertise first hand. 

It is a new world!  


Olga said...

It is amazing and somewhat humbling how fast little kids learn to navigate the world of technologies that often elude me entirely.

Aunt Betsy said...

WOW!!! And to think I raised 4 kids with no technology! I hope my kids don't see these products.... my adult kids all have a cell phone in their hand constantly and their eyes on it. They remind me of a commercial for Valentine's Day where the guy has to send an email to his girlfriend asking her to look up (she is on her cell) so he can give her a gift. It drives me crazy for people to be sitting around and everyone with an IPad or IPhone ignoring each other.