The iPad accessory ‘iPotty’, first revealed at the start of 2013, is ending it on an extremely bum note, after a recent report from a children’s well-being organisation singled it out as the ‘worst toy of the year’.
The attachment product specifically tailored to the Apple product was condemned by the ‘Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood’, who called the build from CTA Digital the #1 ‘TOADY’ (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) of 2013.
iPotty, first revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas (USA) at the beginning of the year, was advertised earlier this year as an ‘alternative potty’ built with a ‘purpose-built stand’ shaped for an iPad, designed to allow the tablet computer to rest and provide the potty-training child to be entertained throughout the process.
CCFC director Dr. Susan Linn said of the reasoning behind singling the product out: “Throughout history, kids have mastered toilet training without touch screens. The iPotty is a perfect example of marketers trying to create a need where none exists. In fact, the last thing children need is a screen for every single occasion.”
‘Winning’ the prize with 45% of all votes, the iPotty marks the 3rd year in a row in which a ‘screen-based toy’ took the most votes in the TOADY survey, following 2011′s ‘Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet’, and the ‘Fisher-Price Apptivity Monkey’ in 2012.
Following the iPotty in the vote include the ‘VIP Upgrade Membership by The Real Tooth Fairies’ (30%), board game spin-off ‘Monopoly Empire’ (11%), the ‘Play Doh Create ABCs App’ (10%), and Fisher-Price’s ‘Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus’ (3%). It is clear that CCFC are not fans of screens in front of young eyes (particularly interactive ones, which cause the rumours of many children now learning to ‘tablet’ before they can walk), and like many adults participating in the survey and beyond might yearn for the days when this was more commonplace:
The headline, though, is the iPotty being the biggest TOADY, and even though they have no direct involvement in the item, Apple are stuck by association to this product, where the jokes will now pretty much write themselves. You can commence that process in the comments below, after the official CCFC press release on the matter:
iPotty Wins Dreaded TOADY Award for Worst Toy of the Year
BOSTON – December 9 – It’s official. Fed up with the latest effort to insinuate screens into every nook and cranny of young children’s lives, members of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood selected the 2-In-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad by CTA Digital as winner of this year’s TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year.
With 45% of the vote, the iPotty – a potty seat with a stand for an iPad so toddlers can play games and watch videos during toilet training – bested runner-up VIP Upgrade Membership by The Real Tooth Fairies (30%). Monopoly Empire (11%) and PLAY-DOH Create ABCs App (10%) also had impressive showings. Trailing far behind was the Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus by Fisher-Price (3%).
“Throughout history, kids have mastered toilet training without touch screens,” said CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn. “The iPotty is a perfect example of marketers trying to create a need where none exists. In fact, the last thing children need is a screen for every single occasion.”
Michelle Salcedo of Greenville, SC eloquently explained her vote for the winner: “Toilet learning should be a time of positive interaction between child and caregiver. Also, children should be aware of the cues in their bodies as they learn. This toy takes this social/emotional focus out of the process and substitutes the hypnotism of a screen.” Added Alex Reynard of Royal Oak, MI, “It not only reinforces unhealthy overuse of digital media, it’s aimed at toddlers. We should NOT be giving them the message that you shouldn’t even take your eyes off a screen long enough to pee.”
Other nominees certainly had their “fans”. Voters were especially irked by The Real Tooth Fairies’ gender stereotypes and commercialization of a childhood icon. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of Holland, NY wrote, “It’s a hijacking of one of children’s most magical tiny creatures, a wee last tradition imagined differently by each child and family.” The Real Tooth Fairies got Ricki Klos of Fort Worth, TX’s vote because “of their oversexed figures… and the fact that corporate marketers can’t leave something innocent alone to parents or children’s imaginations.”
Chris Edwards of Farmville, NC voted for Monopoly Empire “because of the sheer and shameless commercialism that appears to be the essence of this variation of the game.” David Barker felt that the Play-Doh app was the worst because it takes “special pains to stifle all creativity and enforce conformity.” And David Sands, MD, of Fairfield, IA chose the Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus because it “teaches very young children – it’s recommended for ages three to eight—that violence is the preferred approach to resolving conflict.”
But in the end, the iPotty prevailed. It’s the third consecutive year that voters chose a screen-based toy for infants and toddlers as the TOADY winner. Last year, Fisher-Price’s Apptivity Monkey—a stuffed animal with an iPhone in its belly—took home the prize and the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet won in 2011.
Added Dr. Linn, “Once again, the TOADY voting reflects the growing resistance to the toy industry’s cynical and self-interested promotion of screen-based products for infants and toddlers.”