Technology has come a long way. Nowadays, there seems to be a gadget, gizmo or an app for everything. Whether you want to monitor your steps or sleep pattern, control the security system in your home or build an entire virtual eco-system out of complex digital code (each to their own) the technology is at your fingertips and it’s easy to rely on our smart phones or tablets for even the most basic of everyday tasks.
But with talk of younger generations suffering from screen addiction and the negative effects of constant online access and screen time being widely discussed, there’s much debate over when we should introduce our little ones to the big wide world of high-tech gadgets.
For one father, however, there’s no such thing as too soon.
Gary Taylor, father and owner of Birmingham-based furniture company Babeek, has designed a bespoke crib complete with a built-in iPad for his baby daughter, Graysie.
Created with the intention of making life easier for parents who have trouble getting their little one to sleep, the built-in iPad plays ‘soothing’ white noise to encourage the baby to gently drift off.
“For me, it’s about getting our child to sleep,” Gary explained according to The Mirror.
The idea for the bespoke cot came after Gary and his wife Gemma had been using their own phones to get little Graysie down at night. Seeking a more permanent solution, Gary then decided to build an iPad into Graysie’s cot, using a white noise app to download the soothing sounds to play on repeat without any interruptions.
Debate: Should you use an iPad to get your baby to sleep?
Gary’s invention has enraged some parents on social media, with many slamming the concept on his company’s Facebook page.
“This has got to be a joke the most ridiculous thing ever. What’s wrong with reading/singing/talking about the day with your child to settle them for bed!?” one Facebook user commented.
Another added: “There is absolutely no need for this! Bed is for sleeping. No wonder kids are the way they are now with all this technology. Lazy parenting.”
For COGNIKIDS founder and CEO Ollwyn Moran, this goes further than ‘lazy parenting’ as she hints introducing screen time to your baby too early could prove detrimental to their health.
“Cot time is crucial for developing babies and their brains,” Ollwyn explains. “Screens emit a blue light that actually stimulate the brain rather then calm and soothe it.”
However, while a report published by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health indicates there is no benefits of screen time, it also claims there isn’t enough evidence to dictate how damaging it is for children’s development, if at all.
The RCPCH’s Officer for Health Promotion, Dr Max Davie, told Sky News, “studies in this area are limited but during our research analysis, we couldn’t find any consistent evidence for any specific health or wellbeing benefits of screen time, and although there are negative associations between screen time and poor mental health, sleep and fitness, we cannot be sure that these links are causal, or if other factors are causing both negative health outcomes and higher screen time.”
But Ollwyn has strong opinions on the matter, adding: “It is worrying that any empathic caring parent out there thinks that it is okay to overload your child’s sensory system so that they actually shut down and become in a trance like state, which is exactly what happens when they are put in front of screens.
“A child’s sleeping space should be restful and calming without toys and distractions. It is crucial that they learn to self soothe and self regulate and to do this they must be given time and space but also they need to be shown how to initially, and this learning can only come from parents and care givers, through physical and emotional support.”