The New York Times recently published an interesting roundup of the newest apps and gadgets designed to "soothe babies."
The writer, Farhad Manjoo, test drove a gamut of kid-soothing implements in his quest to chill out his kid, from the basic, el cheapo ($1.99) White Noise iPhone app to the more complex iPhone Cry Translator and the Why Cry Baby Analyzer -- both of which failed to work on his kid. Of cry analyzers, he said that they are "at best novel curiosities, and at worst -- when your baby is screaming uncontrollably and you're at wit's end -- frustrating time-wasters." Ironically, of this batch, the favorite was the least expensive White Noise app (probably because white noise has been proven over time to soothe babies anyhow).
Manjoo also reviewed baby monitors and bouncy chairs that looked great, but made his kid lose his mind. He was reticent to endorse many of these costly accoutrements, but was down with an inexpensive, voice-activated Crib Light with Womb Sounds. He also liked the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer, a handheld stopwatch for parents to clock diaper changes, feedings and sleep.
I'm not sure how I feel about some of these newfangled gadgets -- especially the cry translators. I certainly get the stress of being a new parent and the hyper-consciousness of wanting to do the job to the best of your ability. Having had two colicky kids myself a few years ago, I feel there is a certain value in learning to master manual soothing techniques and, over time, understanding just what each cry means. I may have had to swaddle, stroll and sing in order to soothe two unruly infants, but I learned a ton about myself and my kids in the process.
Aren't kids exposed to too much technology, too young as is? Do we really have to use electronic devices to help parent them from birth? With as many as 20 percent of kids aged 8 to 18 being heavy online media users (online for as much as 16 hours per day!), I feel kids born around now will have PLENTY of time to immerse themselves in the digital world, without us giving them a such an early head start.
What do you guys think?