Study faults ‘Einstein’ videos for infants

Boston Globe 8 August 07
Parents hoping to raise baby Einsteins by using infant educational videos may instead be dumbing their children down, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Researchers found that, among babies aged eight months to 16 months, every hour spent daily watching programmes such as Brainy Baby or Baby Einstein translated into six to eight fewer words in their vocabularies compared with other children their age.
The hundreds of millions of dollars parents have spent on these videos is money down the drain, according to Dr Dmitri Christakis of the University of Washington in Seattle. The videos, which are designed to engage a baby’s attention, hop from scene to scene with minimal dialogue and include mesmerising images.”I would rather babies watch American Idol than these videos,” Christakis said, explaining that there was at least a chance the parents would watch with them, giving the babies contact that could benefit them. Children whose parents read to them or told them stories instead of showing them videos had bigger vocabularies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than 24 months.