April Fool’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, so companies and brands are thankfully (and by “thankfully” I mean “obnoxiously”) celebrating the garbage holiday a day early. This year however, IKEA admittedly came up with a pretty good joke by setting their fazers on indignant, overprotective parents — arguably the faction of society most susceptible for falling for April Fool’s pranks or being devoid of a sense of humor in general (if we can learn anything from the countless “mommy blogs” out there).
In a Facebook post early Friday morning, IKEA Singapore announced that it would be doing away with the furniture chain’s bright and colorful playground area — which has always been a huge perk for those shopping with little ones in tow — in lieu of “tablet stations,” complete with photos of zombie-like children staring blankly into screens pushes up against their faces.
The post explains:
We’re about to transform Småland from a playground into a ‘press-play-ground’! Our studies of children’s play habits reveal that today’s kids prefer tablets to physical activity. So we’re replacing the magical forest with a haven of sitting pods with tablets—recreating the way your kids play.
Suffice to say, parents were not in on the joke, with many commenting to express their shock and outrage:
I can’t believe this! They need physical play more than finger play. They learn social skills when they interact with other kids. They don’t interact when their eyes are glued to the screens!
Please bring back the physical playground.
This is zombie land.
This is such a huge disappointment..I’m looking forward for my youngest son to be old enough so i can let him have some fun Smaland…
With this new changes, I will definitely not send my kids there…meaning our shopping trips to Ikea will be very limited in the near future…
Ikea, this is truly disapponting! This doesn’t make sense at all. Children need more play than screens for sure.
Educational? Use books and hands on activities rather than screens.
Although i don’t send my child there, it is a Sad phenomenon to see what the culture is becoming. Totally speechless ?
I’ve always loved to bring my kids to play at IKEA Småland back in Singapore. BUT, this comes as a surprise, IKEA =( especially at an era where many families struggle towards lesser screen time so kids can play and imagine, AWAY from flat screens.
Seriously？whats the need for the tablets when children look forward to enjoy playing in smaland？ we can rather put them in a pram with our mobiles n keep shopping peacefully rather than leave them in a pod.. a very disappointing move .. i have a daughtet under 2.. shes not eligible to play there due to age limit but she ll spend a few mins to gaze at the kids playing and i have to forcefully move her and distract her from that.. however she enjoys playing at the kids section displays for hours.. i was really looking forward to put her in when she turns two.. now she can rather shop around with me though it means a lot of detours for us rather than sitting in a pod.. as a suggestion, at least isolate the physical play area from the digital section so that parents really have an option..
Here are some more photos of IKEA’s updated “Småland.” I don’t know, doesn’t look so bad to me, to be honest.