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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

UPDATE: Apple apologizes for Baby Shaker app




UPDATE: After a wild day of protests directed at Apple, officials with the company apologized for the Baby Shaker app that was available on the App Store at the beginning of the week but was pulled Wednesday.

"This app is deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store," an Apple spokeswoman told InformationWeek. "We sincerely apologize for this mistake." 

But for some, the apology was not enough. Patrick Donohue, who  founded the Sarah Jane Brain Project after his daughter was shaken by her nurse when she was just days old, says the apology was "directed at the media" and is "the most cynical apology I have ever seen." Sarah Jane is now 3 years old but suffers from brain damage.

The apology is a start. But Apple should come clean about the process that is used to approve these apps. And they should make another attempt at that apology because it does ring a little hollow. So many people have lost their children or seen them injured for life because they were severely shaken as infants. Come on, Apple, you can do better. 


Why, oh why, would anyone have a "game" that involves shaking a baby? It's dumb, there's no other way to characterize it.

And yet, Sikalosoft created the Baby Shaker, an app for the iPhone or iPod Touch, which simulated a crying baby being shaken to quiet it down. It was in Apple's App Store for a short time before someone convinced the company it was crazy and offensive and Apple pulled it.

Now, I know folks will say, oh it's just a game. But how can a game be fun when after you shake the device hard enough, red Xs appear over the baby's eyes implying that he is dead?

If you think playing this game is fun then bear in mind what happens when you shake a baby in real life. It maims and it kills. A recent story in the Times told about a simulator that teaches teens in a babysitting class what can happen if a baby is shaken, as a way to prevent them from trying it.

Haven't there been several of these "What were they thinking" stories out there recently? What were the folks at Nickelodeon thinking when they didn't remove Chris Brown from the Kids' Choice Awards ballots? He finally removed himself. And then there is the Burger King commercial that uses the old Sir Mix-A-Lot song Baby Got Back to sell kids' meals. Who can forget the company that decided to sell the Caylee Sunshine doll named after the little girl whose mother is charged with her murder?

And to top it all off, I just got an e-mail from Apple suggesting everyone should give iPod Touch as a Mother's Day gift. But until I hear Apple issue an apology for the Baby Shaker, I think all of us Mommas should just shake off that suggestion.

[Times files: The Shaken Baby Simulator shows teens and tweens in a babysitting class what can happen to a baby if he is shaken.]

-- Sherry Robinson

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:00am]


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