(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.
baby boy says
How can I know which DVD is beater? some people said you need expose your baby to all kind of things, TV movies and all this things.
I got sucked into these DVD’s when my daughter was born. I always felt so guilty having her sit there for 20 minutes watching these images. After awhile I just stopped putting them on because I felt them to be too hypnotic. In a bad way.
Jennifer Lance says
I wrote about the Baby Einstein Farce here:
I just read last night, “Listening to adults talking or to the radio or television where the speech is not interactive does not have the same positive effect on development as direct, face-to-face communication. For this reason, even videos and toys that are specifically designed for babies with slowed-down action and with interactions where the toy or character seems to be responding or talking to the child can never substitute for the real thing. The verbal reactions that are truly required are those that are truly responsive to a particular child’s specific vocalizations….The toy or video’s words are not contingent on the baby’s actions but are contingent on what happens visually” (Bodrova & Leong, 2007).
Thanks for sharing this information. I have always personally held the belief that these DVDs could not possibly be of “educational value” for babies, it is fantastic to see the company admit this themselves. I just wish more parents new this!
baby names meanings says
Personally i feel that these videos are just a marketing gimmick. Children these days already spend way too much time sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons. It will be much better for them to learn from real books rather than them spending their learning time watching educational videos. The TV hours will just keep adding up! Excessive TV watching and the lack of physical activity is one of the main reasons for the epidemic of childhood obesity.