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Now There’s An Exercise-Bike for Your TV-Addicted Toddler

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You know who apparently needs a high-tech exercise bike? Your toddler. Fisher-Price is releasing such a thing, which also works with gaming apps on little kids’ tablets, as the company announced this past Wednesday.

It’s called the “Think & Learn Smart Cycle” (which I personally think is a terrible name… not that catchy), and it’s basically an enormous video-game controller allowing children to pedal their way through games. This is both amazing and terrifying. Of course, if they’re going to watch TV, it’s better to exercise while doing so. Even better, they can learn about math and social studies, for instance, thanks to an app included with the bike. Multi-tasking at its best.

Amber Pietrobono, a spokeswoman with Fisher-Price, explained how the company believes it will help preschoolers learn faster and better:

“We know preschoolers learn best and retain more when they’re active, but they’re also really fascinated with technology like apps.

We hope kids will have so much fun playing and pedaling that they won’t even realize they’re learning through content in the apps.

Kids control their learning by using the handlebars, joystick and a fun pedaling action to progress through the learning content and games. So essentially, the more kids pedal, the more they can learn.”

The bike costs $150 and will hit stores in this coming fall, which will also work with four other apps, including Apple TV, Android TV, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Shimmer and Shine games. In case that’s not enough, it works with Bluetooth technology. Of course, parents can keep tabs on how their kids are progressing.

According to a survey Fisher-Price conducted, preschool children spend 21% of their playtime with electronic devices, on top of an additional 19 hours a week watching TV or videos. However, The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that kids ages 2 to 5 should only spend about an hour a day watching something on a screen–which is a lot less than what’s going on now according to the Fisher-Price survey.

Like many, I have mixed feelings about the exercise-bike. It seems, on one hand, like a great way to engage toddlers with learning and exercise at the same time, but it also seems like part of the problem–as if we are teaching our kids to be hooked into a screen at all times. The old-fashioned part of me wants to say, whatever happened to running around in the backyard?

Also, is it a good thing to teach our kids that we must always be focusing on a myriad of tasks, rather than just one? I say this, too, as a notorious “multi-tasker,” but it’s also good to encourage an attention span and singular focus.

Oy, maybe I’m just getting old.


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