FTC Complaint: Children's Apps Not Really Educational

Monday, August 12, 2013

(Goran Bogicevic/Shutterstock)

A complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission last week claims that many mobile apps claiming to be educational are not. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed the complaint against Fisher-Price "Laugh and Learn" apps and Open Solutions, a software developer.

The advocacy group argues that screen-play can even be harmful if it comes at the expense of human interaction with family and friends.

Is this actually a new debate?

How many of us were planted down in front of the TV on a Saturday morning, so that mom and dad could get some quiet time without having us nag them?

When it comes to the history of children's media, what is the line between education and distraction?

Dr. Melissa Morgenlander is an educational consultant and curriculum developer. She founded the blog IQ Journals, where she shares her experiences using technology with her own children. She joins us to discuss the evolution of children's media and what actually constitutes an educational app.

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Melissa Morgenlander

Produced by:

Tyler Adams and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]

Rob Hetzron

"The velocity of all this change is sobering to contemplate.."
Well concluded.

Nice article to pair this piece with: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/papa-dont-text/309385/

As Spiderman would say- With great power comes great responsibility. Must try, at the very least, to retain aspects of your traditional, iPad free, Sat. morning TV childhood while supporting your youngin' gradually growing smarter than you with their shimmering touch screen devices.

Aug. 12 2013 11:05 PM
Alexa Birdsong from New York, NY

I was fortunate to have parents that didn't let my sisters and I
sit in front of TV. If we said we were bored, my Mother would respond "Read a book."
" Or, "Go outside and play." She also made sure we lived in communities
where we didn't have cross the street to play.

Aug. 12 2013 04:33 PM
Karen from New Jersey

As the parent of very young children, for the most part I appreciated the coverage of this story. However, the comparison between watching TV and playing with apps is so redolent of class privilege. Of course the educated, moneyed class is going to convince itself that somehow using an iPad is less problematic than TV. Give me a break. A screen is a screen. Buy a box of crayons.

Aug. 12 2013 04:08 PM

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