An iPhone/iPod Touch game in which the player attempts to stop a baby from crying by violently shaking the motion-sensitive handheld device is understandably causing a stir.
Although iTunes has apparently removed Baby Shaker from its AppStore offerings, the controversy over the game lingers.
Cnet reports that Baby Shaker drew criticism from, among others, Jennipher Dickens, whose son Christopher was injured after being shaken by his father. Dickens, the founder of the nonprofit group Stop Shaken Baby Syndrome, commented on the iPhone app:
As a mother of a child who was violently shaken at 7 weeks old, causing a severe brain injury, and the founder of a national organization for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention… I don’t have to tell you how much this horrifies me!
But Saul Hansell, writing for the New York Times’s Bits blog, has criticized Apple for pulling the game:
I’m troubled by the way Apple caved into pressure here. Of course this application is deeply offensive, with no redeeming value except to people who like to play gross games or have twisted senses of humor.
But as I wrote in February, the App Store is coming to resemble a bookstore. The applications available there can have political, social or literary content. And we know that one person’s manifesto is another’s heresy, and that your masterpiece may well be trash to me.
Meanwhile, The Consumerist reports that Baby Shaker was pulled from iTunes, made available and pulled again.