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Baby Einstein Debate: Can Videos Make Your Kid Smart? (page 2)

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Updated on May 18, 2012

Studies definitely reveal that screen time isn't benefitting babies or toddlers. But can videos like Baby Einstein actually harm a child’s intellect? The research is unclear, but analysis does show that screen media has the following negative effects:

  • sleep disturbances
  • possible language delays
  • poor performance in school in children under age three
  • childhood obesity and increased BMI

In addition, plopping your kid in front of the television can be habit forming. “Some research suggests that the more babies watch, the harder time they have turning off the TV when they’re older,” explains Linn.

Since the Baby Einstein recall, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has filed another FTC complaint against a company called Your Baby Can Read. “Their claims were really egregious,” attests Linn. “There was absolutely no research behind them.” Although the FTC operates mostly in secrecy, there seem to be no more television ads for Your Baby Can Read soon after the complaint was filed—as opposed to the previous year, where there were a hundred TV ads for the baby-centered company in just one month.

Why does Linn care so much about companies like Baby Einstein? “We want parents to be able to make informed decisions about the media that they allow their babies and toddlers to view,” she says. “Companies should not be allowed to falsely advertise that these videos are educational.” After all, by the age of three months, many babies are regularly placed in front of screens. Forty-seven percent of infants (children one year and under) watch television and videos, and 30 percent actually have a television set in their bedroom. On average, these very young children watch these forms of media for almost two hours each day. But if their parents think they’re creating little Einsteins by sitting their infants in front of the screen, this recall may prod them to think again.

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