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Technology and Human Responsibility | Information, Computers, and Education

Three Notes: On Baby Walkers, Video Games, and Sex
Stephen L. Talbott

[This article in its original form was published in NetFuture #96 (October 14, 1999). It is now a chapter in Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines, published by O'Reilly Media with a release date of spring, 2007.]

Beware the Baby Walker

The revelations in recent years about the risks of baby walkers ought to be a wake-up call for those parents eagerly buying educational software for their children. The revelations concern those cute little mobile seats with wheels that allow infants to move around in an upright position, with their feet touching the ground, so that they can propel themselves with their own legs. There may be perfectly good reasons for employing such devices in particular situations, and infants seem to delight in them. But my concern now is with the satisfaction many parents take in seeing their little ones “develop strong, well-coordinated legs for early walking.” The general thinking seems to run like this: “The child must sooner or