Taking “Baby” Steps into Cyber Space

You may have heard it a zillion times before and this isn’t the last time you are going to hear it either – we live in a society that is obsessed with technology. We have this mad urge to be connected with the rest of the world and no matter how many social networking sites we join or how loud our “tweet” may be, we simply aren’t connected enough. And now the new fear that is gripping people is they aren’t connected soon enough.

To make sure their babies don’t have to grow up in an unconnected world parents are starting to build an online presence for their babies, sometimes, even before they are born! According to a research conducted by AVG, an Internet Security Firm, 7% of toddlers and babies have their own email ids. And those that don’t are bound to have ventured into cyberspace by the time they are two years old. In fact, data places this figure to be around 92% of kids in the US.

If you find that a bit hard to digest – chew on this. Mothers in the U.S., France, Germany, England, Spain, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia were surveyed about their babies’ presence on the World Wide Web. More than 30% of them responded that their little cutie pies’ tryst with the internet began long before their first birthday, before even they were born…probably somewhere around when they were conceived. That’s right their online profile has a snapshot of them in the wombs thanks to the ultrasound images that have been uploaded by their mothers.

Innocent as their motives might be, J.R. Smith, Chief Executive of AVG voices concern over this growing trend. In a blog post he says “It’s worth considering what kind of digital footprint or online history you want to leave for your child. And when your child is a teenager or adult, what will they make of the information you are currently uploading now?”

If this form of digital madness wasn’t enough, Twitter, in association with Fisher Price, has come out with a toy-cum-activity center that has a direct access to the micro-blogging site where the baby has his own Twitter account. Christened the “Twoddler,” this activity center has pictures of relatives and friends and when the baby plays with the toy his various actions trigger an automated Twitter update.

I don’t know what your reaction to this toy is (mine was of horror), but it won the top honors at the Innovative and Creative Applications (INCA) 2009 awards. Now maybe they can suggest an online solution to the growing rate of obesity in children…


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