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Toddler has iPad deprivation tantrum, gets kicked off plane

A 3-year-old on an Alaska Airlines flight is playing quietly with an iPad before takeoff. However, when he receives the instruction to turn the machine off, the toddler hits the roof and refuses to sit properly with his seatbelt on.

It seems that it isn't just whiny, self-centered adults who can't be deprived of their precious gadgets on a plane for even 10 minutes.

For a 3-year-old on an Alaska Airlines flight plane threw such severe conniptions after his iPad was taken away before takeoff that he (and his family) were removed from the plane.

I am grateful to Boing Boing for offering me the New York Daily News' telling of the tale.

It seems that the unnamed 3-year-old is the son of Washington State resident Mike Yanchak. The family was reportedly flying to St. Martin Island from Seattle. The boy was playing quietly with an iPad before takeoff. But once the iPad had been taken away, a particular kind of hell was let loose.

Well, Yanchak told KIRO-FM radio: "He was crying, being cranky. I started putting him in his seat. I put his seatbelt on. But he was being cranky, trying to be close to me, so he wasn't fully fastened yet."

Oh, which of us ever goes through life fully fastened? Still, we know that airlines can be a little picky about their fasteners. So, even though the plane was already heading for the runway, the captain decided to turn back and have the little boy deplaned.

This despite Yanchak's claim that his wife had come back from first class -- where she was sitting with her mother and 1-year-old -- and calmed the gadget-deprived boy down.

Alaska Airlines said this was a judgment call on the captain's part. The boy wouldn't sit upright and wouldn't keep his seatbelt on.

The airline told the Daily News: "We regret the inconvenience to the Yanchuk family, however, our flight crew made the necessary decision to direct them to take another flight after the parents were unable to ensure their son complied with FAA regulations to sit properly in his seat with his seat belt fastened. The fact that the child repeatedly laid across the seat with the seat belt at his throat was particularly concerning to our crew."

Yanchak, though, seems terribly upset.

"Kids crying, people snoring, large, smelly people, we deal with it, it's normal," he told KIRO-FM.

This is true. Sometimes we do deal with it. But we rather loathe it, all the same. And though Yanchak protested that his son doesn't want to fly again, one can surely understand why the pilot reacted the way he did.

Some might say it would have all been different had the child been allowed to keep playing with his iPad. However, the fact that being deprived of it seems to have caused such vast upset is consistent with current academic thought on children and their gadgets.

There is increasingly educated chatter about the effect that iPads and other screens are having on both young and old generations, and even the relationship between the two.

The Daily Mail recently reported that some academics are concerned that parents are simply abdicating their responsibilities to gadgets. This, they say, is "passive parenting" and risks the children's mental and physical health.

It has reached the point where the Canberra Times reported this week that some academics are concerned that the iPad 3 is so vivid that children are finding the real world dull by comparison.

It quoted Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University as saying: "'How can you expect the world to compete with something like an iPad 3 with a high-definition screen, clear video, and lots of interactivity: how can anything compete with that?''

Well, indeed. Might as well knock down the Taj Mahal now.