Following FTC Complaint, Baby App Developer Stops Making Educational Claims

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh@commercialfreechildhood.org)

For Immediate Release

Following FTC Complaint, Baby App Developer Stops Making Educational Claims
CCFC withdraws complaint against Open Solutions, urges FTC action against Fisher-Price

Boston -- August 14 -- Just five days after being cited in a Federal Trade Commission complaint by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Open Solutions stopped making educational claims about its apps for babies. On August 7, CCFC filed FTC complaints against Open Solutions and Fisher-Price for falsely and deceptively marketing their baby apps as educational. By August 12, Open Solutions removed all claims that their apps teach babies language, math, logic, and reading skills from the iTunes pages promoting their products. As a result, CCFC has withdrawn its complaint against Open Solutions, while strongly urging the Commission to investigate Fisher-Price.

“We applaud Open Solutions for taking such decisive action to remedy their false and deceptive marketing,” said CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn. “We hope that Fisher Price—and other baby app developers—follow their example. It’s unfair for companies to make unsubstantiated educational claims that 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.”

Open Solutions has removed or changed almost all of the educational claims cited by CCFC. For example, for the app Baby Hear & Read Nouns, the company removed the claims “new and innovative form of baby education” and “learn how to read, pronounce, and spell basic nouns” from the apps page in iTunes. A complete list of changes to Open Solutions’ advertising on iTunes can be found at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/Changes%20to%20Open%20Solutions%20Baby%20App%20Marketing.pdf.

CCFC urged the Commission to take action against Fisher-Price, which continues to claim its apps teach language and math skills. CCFC also urged the FTC to provide guidance to the expanding baby app industry.

Added Dr. Linn, “It's hard enough to raise young children in today's digital world without being bombarded with false advertising. Parents of infants and toddlers deserve honest information about the apps marketed for their children.”

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 original complaint to the FTC regarding Open Solutions.

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