Fisher Price’s New Exercise Bike Is Child Abuse Through Technology

15:26Ciaran McCormick

When you imagine a perfect childhood, what do you picture? Children exploring nature, making friends and returning to a loving family. Whilst we live in far more complex ways than this today, screen time now dominates our leisure.

It has even infiltrated the toys that our children play with. This is where Fisher Price’s latest product fits in. It is an exercise bike called the "Think and Learn Smart Cycle" that they announced at a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Attractively, built in sleek silver and red, it comes with a correspondingly steep $150 price tag. The scariest part is that this toy, designed for 3-6 year olds, is designed around the tablet holder at the front of the bike. This can hold a tablet belonging to a parent or even the child itself. Buy the bike and get a free app included that encourages your child to exercise and see themselves on the screen in various child-friendly fantasy settings.


So what, you might think? It seems better than letting children stagnate in front of television or YouTube. But, really this is just another way to avoid exposing young people to the enriching experiences of the real world. This requires effort that many busy parents sadly neglect. Sure, technology has been around for some time. I played Wii Fit, a game that had the same principles – getting people who didn’t exercise to do so through the enjoyment that mini games and simple yoga gave them.

Buy this children's smartphone for a 6 month year old and watch them grow up thinking everything is a touch screen. It costs just £12.95.

However, we are losing the healthy balance we need between the benefits and dangers of a digital life. Instead of reproducing something that you can get easily outside, digital time should be spent usefully. Teach your children to code, to learn about computers, use different pieces of software and create things that are age-appropriate. They can even play games just for the sake of enjoying them. But make sure you keep the healthy balance and don’t use the latest gadget to replace your duty as a parent.

The normalisation of technological tools for parenting is scary. Young children now enjoy a range of their own tablets, smartphones and even £300 cars. Imposing adult products on kids is far less important than ensuring these products stimulate the senses. It also imposes adult ideas, such as neurotic people scarfing fast food binges before exercising out of guilt on an overpriced gym exercise bike. Young children prefer the boxes, bubblewrap or Styrofoam that these products inhabit. Older children enjoy the company of friends more than lonely cycling in front of a tablet. Yet as adults become addicted to technology, it is no wonder that the young people we are charged with controlling do so as well.

Buy this children's Lambourghini for a spoiled child in your life for just £297.30.

For $150 you can buy an impressive bike. Take your six year old out on a bike ride, explore some countryside, get a healthy dose of fresh air and learn social skills. Times like this were one of the highlights of my youth and I grew up at a time when childhood was starting to feel the effects of the budding technology. Our country is no more dangerous than it used to be decades ago, we are all just hypersensitive to our own fears for our children. Learning to stand on your own two feet, and then pedal away, is an important part of growing up. They will remember these times, not the hours they spent wilting in front of screens.

Use the search function below to look for real bikes to buy young people that you know:

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