Baby App Company Stops Making Educational Claims in Ads

Activist childrens' group urges FTC to review Fisher-Price's baby app claims

Baby app developer Open Solutions altered its educational claims for its baby apps five days after the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that the claims were deceptive. 

As a result of the changes made by Open Solutions, CCFC withdrew its FTC complaint. 

Among the claims Open Solutions removed from its marketing were: "entertain and educate your baby," and "new and innovative form of baby education." 

CCFC also filed a complaint against Fisher-Price for marketing its baby apps as educational, but Fisher-Price has yet to change its marketing.

“We hope that Fisher Price—and other baby app developers—follow their [Open Solutions'] 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 [are] the last thing very young children need for optimal learning and development,” Dr. Susan Linn, CCFC's director, said in a statement.

In its letter to the FTC withdrawing its complaint about Open Solutions, the CCFC urged the FTC to address its Fisher-Price complaint and provide guidance to baby app developers that they have evidence to back up substantive educational claims. 

Fisher-Price stands by its claims. "Our toy development process begins with extensive research by our internal team of early childhood development experts to create appropriate toys for the ways children play, discover and grow. Grounded in 80 years of research and childhood development observations, we have appropriately extended these well researched play patterns into the digital space," said Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Fisher-Price's senior director of child research, in a statement.