Baby Einstein not so genius
So, assuming you haven’t already thrown out your Baby Einstein videos with the bath water, you might be interested to know that Disney is offering a refund for any of those lame-brained baby videos you may have collecting dust on the shelf. To get your refund, the video must be purchased in the last five years and you must submit your claim before March 4, 2010. Find all the rules and whatnot here.
The refund is the result of continued pressure from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which in 2006 filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that Disney stop claiming that Baby Einstein videos were educational for infants.
If you’re interested in the politics of this topic, check out the latest scuttlebutt on the D.C.-based Web magazine Slate, http://www.slate.com/id/2233556/. (A little heads-up that the author penned this as a Bush attack, which isn’t my intent. I just like Noah’s take on the “mompreneur” who created the videos. Common knowledge seems to be that kids under the age of 2 shouldn’t be watching any TV, so the idea that somebody who markets programs especially for this age group would be held up as a hero is a little absurd.)
That said, both my kids watched TV before they were 2… and they still do. No doubt, they watch too much. But if your tots enjoy Baby Einstein and the show buys Mom a few minutes of freedom to make dinner/help with homework/paint her toenails/whatever, I’ve got no problem with it.
So, while I’m not deluded that watching TV is going to make my kids smarter, here’s one study that agrees with me that a little TV in an otherwise healthy childhood isn’t going to harm a kid either. Here’s the news release from the March issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
TELEVISION AND VIDEOS FOR CHILDREN UNDER 2 MAY NOT INFLUENCE SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Exposing infants and toddlers to television does not improve their language and visual motor skills at age 3, but does not appear to harm them either. In the study, “Television Viewing in Infancy and Child Cognition at 3 Years of Age in a US Cohort,” researchers looked at the amount of time 872 children spent watching television or videos from birth to 2 years of age, then assessed their language and visual motor skills at age 3. When researchers adjusted for other factors that could influence these skills, such as maternal education and breastfeeding, the effect of television appeared neutral. Contrary to many parents’ perception that television viewing is beneficial to their children’s brain development, the researchers found no evidence of such a benefit. The authors point out that there are many potential benefits of limiting television exposure in children, including improved diet, lower risk of overweight, less exposure to violent content, and improved sleep quality.
Filed under Mama Says