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Dead baby jokes have officially entered the 21st century

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Apr 25, 2009
by: daneb
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The iPhone app entertainment medium has finally come to maturity... with its first real controversy.  That controversy surrounds a app released on Monday from software maker sikalosoft called "Baby Shaker."  The object of the game is to stop a baby from crying by shaking it until it dies (see video).  This obviously sick and aweful app made it through Apple's app store screening process before quickly sparking national uproar and being pulled from the app store a few days later.  Apple and Sikalosoft both issued apologies and one would have thought the issue might have stopped there.

In walks the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and the National Shaken Baby Coalition, groups intent on increasing advocacy for Shaken Baby Syndrome, which is the condition of brain damage that Babies experience when they are...well...shaken.  It accounts for half of all child abuse deaths in the United States so it is a relatively serious issue.  These advocacy groups are appalled at what the claim the Baby Shaker application has caused.

the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation's founder said in a statement, "You have no idea the number of children your actions have put at risk by your careless, thoughtless and reckless behavior! We will do everything we can to expose your reckless actions and reverse the horrific impact it will have on the innocent children throughout the United States."

Apple stirs up outrage, pulls "Baby Shaker" iPhone software: Scientific American Blog

And they are intent on exacting revenge for Apple and Sikalosoft's wrongdoing.

If we do not receive an adequate response from Apple and AT&T by the time we begin our 15-city American PABI Tour on May 3rd (pabitour.com - to promote awareness and support families who are dealing with PABI) we will hold a demonstration in front of the Apple Store in all 15 cities.

The Baby Shaker episode: Let’s move on - Computerworld Blogs

Wait, so let's get this straight... SJBF and NSBC think that people who have played "Baby Shaker" on their iPhones will automatically think it's ok to shake a real life baby to stop it from crying.  Therefore this app is going to increase the incidence of SBS...

I don't think so. Sure the argument can be made that things we are exposed to in entertainment media affect our conciousness in profoud ways and can translate into action.  But we must realize, this is purely a censorship issue.  Yes, the creaters of this game were sick and twisted.  But one could say that about the creators of many video games on our consoles, directors of movies on DVDs, and authors of books, all of which are available to American consumers.

In this specific case, I actually find myself agreeing with commentor "george," a father of a child with SBS, that this whole episode might have actually helped the cause.

So in a strange way, I do appreciate the fact that Apple released this app on April 20. It's the same day that the Senate adopted a resolution recognizing this week as National SBS Awareness Week. This app has certainly brought greater awareness of the issue.

The Baby Shaker episode: Let’s move on - Computerworld Blogs 

If I were to get really cynical on this, I would say that maybe SJBF even collaborated with Sikalosoft and Apple to make that app and this whole thing is just an elaborate publicity stunt.  Well, either way, it seems to be working.