(See also Jennifer Lance’s article posted last month on “edutainment.”)
Campaign For a Commercial Free Childhood, a coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and parents, announced today:
As a result of CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, Baby Einstein has completely redesigned its website and is no longer making educational claims about its DVDs and videos. In other words…no longer will Baby Einstein DVD’s be pitched to parents as not only appropriate but good for growing infants! Which makes sense since The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for those under two.
Last year, CCFC complained to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
The FTC then wrote to Disney (Baby Einstein’s parent company).
Disney deferred to the CCFC’s supplied research…in other words…there is NO REASEARCH on DVD’s for children under two. I take that back, there is some research…it suggests that it could be harmful for children under two to watch TV or videos.
Now Baby Einstein products proclaim their entertainment value only…educational. The website, packaging and supplemental material has been revised. Case closed for now at least.
Oddly enough, I actually like Baby Einstein. When my son was 2 -1/2 and we decided (i.e., I relaxed my “no TV” stance a bit to promote household harmony) it would be OK for him to watch a video now and again with us, we decided on Baby Einstein. The videos are gentle, non-violent and lack those harmful jump cuts – you know the editing trick that makes action films so exciting and boggles tiny brains.
Baby Einstein really isn’t so bad…it’s just not that great for babies. And, it’s not really going to make your child an Einstein. Do parents understand that? Is it marketers responsibility to ensure they do?
Those are the types of questions that the FTC struggles with each day. Fortunately advocacy groups like CCFC exist to help them answer these questions and warn companies when they step over the line. Good for you CCFC; good for you FTC and good for you, Disney. I think Walt (Disney) would have wanted it this way.