Update: August 15 -- Just five days after being cited in CCFC’s complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, Open Solutions stopped making educational claims about its apps for babies. The company eliminated all claims that their apps teach babies language, math, logic, and reading skills from their product promotions. As a result of Open Solutions' changes to their marketing, we’ve withdrawn our FTC complaint against them. It’s the latest in a long string of victories in CCFC’s ongoing campaign to hold the “genius baby” industry accountable for false and deceptive marketing.
Fisher-Price, however, continues to claim its apps teach language and math skills to babies, despite having no research to support its claims. So if you haven’t yet signed CCFC’s petition urging the FTC to take action on our complaint, please visit http://org.salsalabs.com/o/621/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14086.
It’s a violation of consumer protections for companies to make unsubstantiated educational claims about their products. And it’s wrong to exploit parents’ understandable desire to give their baby a leg up—especially when time with tablets and smart phones is the last thing very young children need for optimal learning and development.
August 9 -- Earlier this week, CCFC filed Federal Trade Commission complaints against Fisher-Price and Open Solutions, charging that both companies falsely market their popular tablet and smart-phone apps for babies as educational. The complaints build on our ongoing – and highly successful – campaign to hold the so-called "genius baby" industry accountable for false and deceptive marketing. Prior efforts led the Walt Disney Company to offer an unprecedented refund on its Baby Einstein DVDs, and to a landmark FTC judgment against the Your Baby Can Read video series.
The complaints, which were prepared by the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University, have already generated an incredible amount of media coverage. Our concerns have been featured in the Associated Press, The New York Times, NewsHour on PBS, NPR's Morning Edition, radio stations across the country, media trade publications, and media outlets around the world. We're shining a much needed spotlight on two important issues-that there's no evidence that babies learn anything meaningful from screens, be it television, DVDs, smart phones, or tablets, and that media companies claiming that their products are educational for babies are violating consumer protection laws.
And now we need your help to ensure that the FTC holds Fisher-Price and Open Solutions accountable for deceiving parents. Please take a moment to urge the FTC to stop app developers from luring babies to screens under false pretenses.
The false and deceptive marketing by Fisher-Price and Open Solutions creates the impression that their apps effectively educate infants when time with tablets and smart phones is actually the last thing babies need for optimal learning and development. Both companies claim that their mobile apps will teach babies skills and information-including words and numbers- but neither company offers any evidence to back up their claims. To date, not a single credible scientific study has shown that babies can acquire language or math skills from interacting with screens. In addition, screen time may be harmful for babies. Research links infant screen time to sleep disturbances and delayed language acquisition, as well as problems in later childhood, such as poor school performance and childhood obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends discouraging screen time for children under two.
It's hard to enough to raise young children in today's digital world without being bombarded with false advertising. It's wrong to exploit parents' natural tendency to want what's best for their babies. And it's against the law to make unsupported educational claims about any product.
Your support for CCFC's previous complaints has made all the difference. Once again, we are asking you to urge the FTC to do the right thing.
Click here to read CCFC's letter withdrawing its complaint regarding Open Solutions.
Click here to see the changes to Open Solutions' baby app marketing.
Click here to read CCFC's complaint to the FTC regarding Fisher-Price.
Click here to read CCFC's complaint to the FTC regarding Open Solutions.
Click here for media coverage of CCFC's complaints.