As if urging parents to use television or tablets with babies isn’t bad enough, AT&T has partnered with BabyFirst to introduce the first-ever “second screen” experience for infants and toddlers. The new BabyFirstTV U-verse app encourages babies to use an iPad while watching TV.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two. When there’s no evidence that even one screen benefits babies, marketing a second one is unconscionable.
Babies using the app can “draw” on a tablet or smart phone and then see the image appear on TVs tuned to BabyFirstTV on the U-verse system. The image appears on television as an overlay to regular BabyFirstTV programming.
The last thing babies need is a multi-tasking, multi-screen experience. Young children learn from singularly focused activities and multisensory interaction with their world, not from rapidly shifting their attention back and forth between two screens.
Currently the app is only available to AT&T’s 10 million U-verse subscribers, but BabyFirst is already in discussion with other TV and High Speed Internet providers and the company is developing a whole line of “second screen engagement tools.” That’s why it’s so important that we speak out right now and stop this abhorrent escalation of baby screen time before it becomes the new norm.
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