Anorak News | The iPotty Is Declared Worst Toy Of The Year

The iPotty Is Declared Worst Toy Of The Year

by | 11th, December 2013

ipotty anorak

IT is the season for the awards ceremonies and one organisation has declared that this, the iPotty, is the worst toy of the year. I have to admit that I can’t quite see it myself: either as the worst toy of this or any other year or as an actual product to be honest. What it actually is is simply a potty to be used, obviously, for potty training and containing a stand into which one can slip one of Apple’s iPads. And you might think that that’s about it and not something so heinous as to deserve this award:

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.

That seems a rather severe reaction to a slightly quirky idea. As does this seem a little over the top:

Michelle Salcedo 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.”

I’m not sure I’d agree with the idea that potty training is something with a social and or emotional focus. I’m reasonably certain that it’s something where we hope toddlers will learn a certain amount of social and emotional control instead.

But this is more than just giving the child something to do while learning these essential life skills. At the product page there’s a paper describing a further use:

The Wonkido Step By Step Going Potty iPad application, a 2013 SIIA
Educational Technology CODiE Award winning animated cartoon, uses a visual
modeling approach, through an animated cartoon, to teach a child step by step
what they need to do to go potty all by themselves. The visual animation is fun
and created in a manner that is developmentally appropriate for young children
learning to go potty. The applications includes a short 5 minute cartoon visually
showing the steps a child needs to do to go potty all by themselves. After
watching the video a child can reinforce their learning by playing a game
identifying the steps.

By combining the two pieces of technology it could therefore be possible to automate this most tiresome of child rearing tasks. Something that of course frees up that caregiver’s time to do something more interesting and or productive. It is, if you like, a part and parcel of that “washing machine” that Ha Joon Chang and Hans Rosling identify as being one of the most liberating technologies yet developed. A part of those technologies that have automated much of the historical domestic labour and thus led to the economic emancipation of women. A very small part and possibly not even an effective part but a part all the same.

My own immediate thought on seeing the story was that Apple’s lawyers won’t be very happy about the name of it. They tend to be rather protective of people putting an “i” in front of anything even vaguely related to electronics.

Posted: 11th, December 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer Comment | TrackBack | Permalink