Product: LeapFrog LeapBand
This product made me laugh a little inside to be completely honest; I mean, when you think about it this product is to help make children more active in their days which sounds ridiculous as they have not needed encouragement to be active before this product. However, let me explain why I feel like this toy is not a good product for our young ones. I am going to go over some of the points the ad makes from Amazon.com that they claim are positives for getting this toy for children; the first is that you can “preload the device with 50 active challenges to get kids moving”. Things like pounce like a lion are these challenges for kids to do throughout the day. Another claim is that it “encourages active play, nurturing and healthy choices”. LeapFrog is also claiming that their innovative new toy is “fit made fun”.
This came as a surprise when I saw this device, because I literally thought that children are usually drawn to be actively engaged without technological prodding. In an article I found about the ever growing use of electronic toys the authors state that such use is actually concerning for our youth. A story they use at the beginning sets the stage for their argument that electronic toys can become repetitive and boring as they usually have buttons that can be pushed prompting the toy to react in the predicted way. They gave the other side of the story as well with a child playing with a ball with his grandma. They were able to come up with many different ways to play with that ball and maintain the entertainment value, even over his tech toy that all he could really do was dance, and press the button to activate the toy.
With this watch, I feel like it is an ok idea, but to have a device telling our infants when and how to be active, I can see them losing in a sense their creativity and becoming reliant on their toy to give them ideas. And what happens when they become bored of the repetitious nature of the challenges? The authors of the article listed below explain that it is very necessary for infants to explore and play, this brings me to the story of the infant and his grandmother story; his interaction with his grandmother helps to build attachments and we know that strong attachments can help children throughout the rest of their lives be able to handle life situations easier.
All in all, I feel like this product is not really effective at doing what it says it does. I feel like it hinders a child’s exploration, and play even if it does seem fun at first the repetitions and similar button pressing will leave the child bored and will most likely move on to something more engaging.
Levin, Diane E., and Barbara Rosenquest. “The Increasing Role of Electronic Toys in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers: should we be concerned?.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 2.2 (2001): 242-247.