New Baby Selfie app is exactly what it sounds like, for better or worse


Today in signs of the apocalypse: A Pittsburgh developer has released an app called “Baby Selfie,” designed to — you guessed it! — take smiling self-portraits of your infant or toddler.

From the app’s description in the Google Play store:

Baby Selfie is peek-a-boo with a camera twist … Baby Selfie uses custom drawings and fun sounds to grab your baby’s attention and surprise them. We capture your baby’s reaction in a unique, unexpected photo that you’ll love to share.

Basically, the app plays rattling pictures of owls, puppies and other animals, and then snaps a photo when your child touches the screen. This is all clearly meant in good fun, and the baby in the sample photos — the very adorable six-month-old daughter of the app’s developer, Matthew Pegula — certainly seems to be having a good time.

A screenshot of "Baby Selfie" from the Google Play store.
A screenshot of “Baby Selfie” from the Google Play store.

But I mean, come on, let’s parse the potential problems here. For one thing, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised, in no uncertain terms, that parents keep kids under the age of 2 away from screens entirely. (Entire campaigns have been launched against products, like Fisher-Price’s iPad “apptivity seat,” that market tech to babies.) And since the selfie is commonly used as a sort of cultural shorthand for a host of alleged millenial problems — narcissism, oversharing, a certain disregard for privacy and personal boundaries — it seems sort of odd to encourage them in small children.

Pegula is personally unconcerned; he wrote the app for fun, as a bit of a programming experiment, and he’s pleased with how it turned out.

“I expect there to be some eye-rolling/”this is what’s wrong with kids today” type stuff but hopefully people realize it’s all in good fun and can provide parents with some fun photos/baby distraction,” Pegula wrote in an e-mail. “I think it’s good because it engages parents and babies with the screen, it’s not really something where you can park your kid in front of it and walk away.” That’s something, at least.

 

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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