Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet is Worst Toy of the Year; “iPad” for Babies Garners 2011 TOADY Award

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30, 2011
Contact:  Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release

Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet is Worst Toy of the Year
“iPad” for Babies Garners 2011 TOADY Award

BOSTON -- November 30 -- The people have spoken.  Appalled by the latest – and priciest – attempt to foist screen time on babies, members of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have chosen the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet as this year’s winner of the TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year.  Capturing 43% of an online vote, the first “iPad” for babies easily beat out rivals the I Am T-Pain Mic (32%), Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack (16%), WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena (5%), and Monopoly - Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Collector's Edition (4%).

“The last thing families need is a $479 tablet with apps to teach their babies ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘Frère Jacques,’” said CCFC’s director, Dr. Susan Linn.

The Vinci is marketed as “a new category of early learning systems designed exclusively for toddlers and preschoolers” that “sets a new standard for learning by converging developmental science, cutting edge technology and early childhood.”  There is no evidence, however, that screen media is educational for children under 2.  CCFC has worked to hold producers of baby media accountable for their deceptive educational claims and its advocacy led Disney to offer a groundbreaking refund on Baby Einstein videos in 2009.  The push to convince parents that screen time is educational for babies is what propelled Vinci to outpace its formidable competition.

“While all the choices were horrifying, the Vinci seems the most insidious to me,” said CCFC member Anne M. Deyser of Westborough, Massachusetts.  “It’s likely to convince parents that they are doing something positive for their babies when that couldn't be farther from the truth.”

Added Peggy Sissel-Phelan, Ed.D., of Little Rock, “People don’t know that without human attention, babies won't develop normally, much less optimally.  They will, however, learn how to push the buttons to make the screen react.  Rats can do that!” 

TOADY runners-up also had their passionate supporters.  Ruben Martinez of Dallas voted for the Monster High Dolls because, “As a parent of 2 young girls (4 and 1) these types of toys really concern me.  Girls of this generation are subconsciously promoting sex to men of all ages because ‘toys’ like this only serve to indoctrinate them at an early age.”  Michele Crunkleton of Doylestown, Pennsylvania said, “I despise toy makers who produce dolls that look like hookers.  Shame on you!” 

The I Am T-Pain Mic was the clear choice for William Payne of Overland Park, Kansas:  “It sends deplorable messages to children. It is not okay to send messages promoting misogyny, alcohol, and drugs to 7-year-olds. No more of this trash.”

The Vinci joins previous TOADY winners Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie and Nickelodeon's AddictingGames.com as CCFC’s Worst Toy of the Year. To learn more about this year’s nominees, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org/action/2011-toady-award.  To learn why CCFC members voted the way they did, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/2011-toady-award-how-you-voted.

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