Benefit of mobile apps for toddlers questioned

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By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A consumer advocacy group says parents are getting duped into thinking mobile apps can make their babies and toddlers smarter.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in Boston says mobile apps by Fisher-Price Inc. of East Aurora, N.Y., and Open Solutions in Bratislava, Slovakia, are violating truth-in-advertising laws when claiming their apps can teach babies the letters of the alphabet or logic skills.

Both companies, contacted by phone and email, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The group's director, Susan Linn, says there is no evidence that mobile apps are beneficial to children, while some research shows that screen time can be harmful to young children.

In 2006, the campaign filed a similar complaint against "Baby Einstein" videos, which prompted Walt Disney Co. to alter its marketing practices and eventually offer consumer refunds.

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