Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Baby Einstein DVDs

Baby Einstein DVDs and videos have been getting a lot of media attention recently. Researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute found that baby DVDs and videos might actually hinder language development in infants. The findings were controversial. Walt Disney Co. demanded a retraction of a UW news release titled "Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants' language development." However, UW President Mark Emmert reviewed the release and said the UW would not retract the release, because it "reflects the essential points made in the research publication."

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83 comments:

Deanna said...

I visited the University Website in hopes that I would find some retraction or concession on the statements regarding Baby Einstein videos. I'm disappointed.

The mother of 2 toddler boys, I'm a big fan of Baby Einstein videos. In fact, Baby Einstein & Little Einstein programs are two of the few TV Programs that my children watch & have watch since they were infants. At age 3.5, my son can write his own name, and almost all other letters of the alphabet and several words. He has an excellent vocabulary in English & knows dozens of Spanish words as well. I seriously doubt that he knows 6 - 8 less words an hour than his counterparts who did not spend time watching Baby Einstein programs. The key to any TV watching is parental interaction with the child along with having a balanced amount of other activities like reading books, outdoors activities, etc. If Baby Einstein or other educational program developers were consulted during this study, I believe they would not support plunking a child in front of any TV programming for hours & only encourage parental interaction during their programming!? How about an apology, at least?

Alon said...

I think That those CD's will bnot contribute as playing with your own child

Sheldon Family Blog said...

As a business consultant who uses the statistical techniques emplyed in this research, I have to say that this study is a complete joke. It almosts borders on academic fraud.

The results were based on a very weak sample and the data was collected in a phone survey, which just does not pass the credibility test right out of the gate.

Disney rightly pointed out that the study only focuses on a narrow age group, and is at best an anomalous statistical result and at worst simply shoddy research.

I have reviewed the regression formula and it fails to control for the amount of interaction a parent has with the child. This is such a horrendous methodological gap as to be unconscionable. It is quite possible that parents who do not spend time interacting with the child park them in front of the TV. This I can believe, but under such circumstances is it the video that limits language development or the lack of parental attention. The fact that this study cannot answer that question, yet claims to in the press release smacks of a desire to publish anything that will get picked up in the mainstream media.

The result effectively claims that placing the child in front of a plain white wall with no stimulus is better for development than seeing a baby video. The very suggestion is, on its face, absurd. Yet we are asked to trust this on the basis of weak methodology and poor statistical control variables.

Shame, shame, shame. The bar for "research" is as low as it has ever been and this proves it.

Anonymous said...

i can't see the dvds causing more damage than the neglect of many parents out there who just pop on the tube and let the kids watch mindless cartoons....the dvds can only help...

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Nunan said...

How definitive is the study?

jane said...

My daughter loved the Baby Einstein DVD's. There was such a large selection to choose from. However, I tried to limit how much time she spent watching them. Although I must admit that once I had her in the baby pushchairs and she stayed there for a whole 45 minutes....whoops!

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Jonny Strong said...

I like the points made by the Sheldon family. I think this study is ridiculous and I know for a fact that watching these very dvds and others like them has not hindered my little one's speech one bit. Each morning recently when it's dry, our routine is - out for a brisk walk, me wrapped up, the kids in the baby pushchairs, then back in to watch their favourite dvds for an hour or so. As long as they are getting good interaction with their parents too, there are absolutely no problems.

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My 18 month old daughter has 3 Baby Einstein dvds. One of these she has been absolutely obsessed with since she was 3 months old. I can't tell you how much time we have spent watching it! Anyways, this child has a huge vocabulary for her age. If these dvds have stunted her learning in any way I would be shocked!! Unless you are using these as an all day babysitter for your child, I don't see the harm.

Zac said...

Though this study is easy to critique and needs a better control group certainly. The basic research philosophy stands. If you call 1000 households and ask them what words your child knows and what words your child doesn't know then what learning products they are using the study maintains decent credibility. Even accounting for the bragging of parents which by the way would push the study more into the this crap is bad for you category if the kids who are not using a learning enhancement dvd are not any more advanced the study stands. Unless this university just got a big grant from someone with a personal axe to grind against infant dvd companies and actually took the time to find people to sculpt their call choices they are using a decently randomized sample with statistically significant results... In short it stands deal with it... As an ESL teacher I strongly believe DVD's lack the ability to copy a responsive human being's ability to emphasize for comprehension.

Baby Carriers said...

As with everything, I think the rule of thumb should be "everything in moderation." I agree with most of the other posts here that the study cannot really be taken seriously. The concern with TV, videos etc., surely must be for those children who do nothing but watch the toob all day and don't get enough personal interaction from their caregivers. It's a shame that a quality product like Baby Einstein is taking the heat.

~Shannon

Infant car seat covers said...

My boy really likes the baby Einstein DVDs .It is something that he gives his full attention to anytime anywhere.

Baby Pushchairs UK said...

I'm a strict person when it comes to video viewing, and with the proliferation of rubbish available for kids to sit down and watch these days I've found the DVD's a welcome change actually. (I limit the time in front of the t.v. also.) Thanks for the further info..

Eric said...

Great point Deanna. The parents have to get involved for the it to be quality training. Everything I've heard about these videos has been positive.

Baby Pushchairs 4U said...

Our kids (aged 2 and 4) have actually stopped watching all TV programs and DVDs recently by their own choice. We would prefer if they would still watch the odd thing, to get a little break as much as anything! I look forward to their renewed interest in constructive viewing!

Sending Flowers said...

Further more baby's nowadays are getting smarter. And also we are impruving everything for them day by day, with all that new stufm like vibating baby bouncers, and classes for newborns. What can they teach them there, to crawl?

Tim said...

Wow.. That link that this post is talking about kind of scares me, since my child absolutely LOVES baby einstein. Sometimes it's the only way she settles down! So do you think I should cut it down?

Lisa said...

I think that this is controversial at best, I would be interested to see if there was any follow up from this.

You can't substitute good parenting with a DVD but I would have to think that any parent engaging in educational DVD's has their childs development at heart and is likely to be doing more activities with their child than just using the DVD as a baby sitter.

Interesting article indeed. Thanks.

Janice and Baby said...

Definitely do things in moderation. This is one of the problems we have today. People gorge on food and thus.... become obese.

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Freda Williams said...

I think The Baby Van Gogh is one of the better videos, in the series. I actually prefer the videos with no speaking parts (all music), and this has minimal speaking (a few poems and the colors are said aloud). My 1 yr old and 3 yr both enjoy this movie. They watch these not only at home but also while they're in their toddler car seats in our vehicle. We have 5 of the Baby Einstein videos, and this is probably our second favorite (Baby Bach is #1). But then, I am a graphic designer and love color... and this movie has a lot of color and shows works from Van Gogh.

We did a lot of research on the Baby Einstein series BEFORE we exposed our children to the movies. And, there was overwhelming praise for this series. It seems there are too many "experts" that really don't know what a truly unbiased study is!

Lisa said...

I believe that you need to take DVD's for what they are - they are entertainment and by no means do they replace the need for social interaction with the parents. Which is after all where these baby einsteins learn their ability from, not the show on television.

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Taylor Page said...

That's kind of disappointing to hear, I've actually had more luck with Dunstan Baby Language than Baby Einstein DVDs.

Check it out if you guys are interested.

Nursery Decoration said...

The parent's attention is very important for the development of an infant. I think that is a good idea allow the kids watch the baby Einstein dvd's only if you don't neglect your child!
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Black Baby Cribs said...

I just want to say this is a great blog full of information and advices. I have 2 boys and they watch a lot of TV and plays video games. We don't have Baby Einstein DVDs but we do have all the season of SpongeBob Squarepants and Garfields. Recently, I bought my younger son a dvd called the baby babble. He loves it and repeat all the words they taught him. When I try to teach him, he just refuse to learn it from me. I thought those educational programs increase their vocabulary.

Telugu News said...

My friend son also likes Baby Einstein DVDs.We always watch together when i visit my friends home.

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Combi Car Seat said...

i bought a one of the dvd's. its super boring. my kids didnt even bother watching it.

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Baby Boomer said...

As a writer of baby guides and pregnancy guides and a former teacher, I am appalled that a leading university would do a study so inefficiently and unscientific. Children learn in many ways as the sooner they are exposed to concepts the better. Our brains are a magnificent thing.

Edward fights Identity Theft said...

Some other cartoon shows is not good for the kids. They uses harsh words and my nice started to say "you're such a loser!" to her playmates while twirling her eyes.

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Anonymous said...

A child's word power at the age of three is an indication of his/her eventual academic level. If a child is exposed to several languages at an early age they are MUCH more likely to do well academically in later life. I am teaching my kids Spanish from a DVD. It is such an advantage to them .

consumer products said...

The videos are very effective and I think it is true that the partents must be very involved. Consumer Products reports a fair view of this topic on Baby Einstein videos.

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Sarah from Best-Car-Seat.com said...

My two grandsons watch Little Einsteins and while I don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that television and videos are the best way to teach your children, I do think that these shows can contribute.

Television cannot and should not be the main factor of learning. I thoroughly resent certain programs (which can be found on Public Television) that take it upon themselves to attempt to teach children about certain lifestyle values.

Little Einsteins does not take this route and I do think that there is enough emphasis on art and music to make this worthwhile for children.

We all know that they arts education they will be getting in school will be sadly lacking.

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John Smith said...

There is some bad press on the dvd's, I think kids are better off playing with toys. Who knows, the researcher might have been trying to make a name for themselves so you hae to take the research with a grain of salt. Creativity, maths science language skills are far mor important.

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vanessa said...

I think the Baby Einstein DVD's were good. Maybe Walt Disney was just jealous! There is no way that the videos could hinder infants' language development!

Lisa Smith said...

I don't think they work, studies have been made debunking them... sorry for the spoiler

Car Seats and BabyEinstein said...

This was posted several years ago. I wonder what 2011 research says concerning Baby Einstein DVDs. We had a DVD player in our van and we used to put these DVDs on while our kids were riding in their car seats. Does anyone know?

baby monitors said...

Thank you for providing an update on this. i have since stopped my child from watching these educational DVDs for the reasons that you mention.

baby cribs for sale said...

I have used the baby Einstein cd's every since my little girl was born. She takes naps to them and sleeps at night to them. The most amazing thing is she has slept through out the night since she was 1 month old. I will recommend baby Einstein to anyone.

Joey said...

I am a fan of baby Einstein, they are extremely helpful with your child's development. Thank you for sharing this post. I hope that parents should be able to share this with their children.

Infant Car Seat Padding said...

Oh cmon..."actually hinders development".
This is a little over the top. Baby Einstein movies are just fine, but i dont think they aim at marketing it makes your kid smarter or whatever...its just regular kiddie entertainment

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best baby strollers said...

I'm still curiious if these programs actually work or even if they have been improved in the last 12-24 months or so. I've heard mixed opinions on them and its hard to weed out fact from opinion. Im put off by the warning on them which basically says they add very little value....

Baby Einstein Video said...

retraction of a UW news release titled "Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants' language development
Our kids (aged 2 and 4) have actually stopped watching all TV programs and DVDs recently by their own choice.

DonaldKiefer said...

I think that in every childs advancement and coping it is us the parents who needed to guide their steps. Watching this kind of program will and does help each and every child and the issue is really biased and should have been founded on a better scope of reasoning. We at travel baby cribs always be a part of providing a child a better and best opportunity of growing.

zazula217 said...

i'm the mother of 8 months boy. i'm overprotective parent. i will definitely not buy those dvd's. your baby can develop without watching tv or dvd's. when i was a baby i didnt have computer or tv.most of the time i spend outside palying with my parents.we just too lazy or comfortable to find different ways to spend our time with little once. it's better to read them books or tell the stories or just talk to them...

newbornsworld said...

my both kids watched this tv show for a while , i looked for baby einstein for a while after as my 3rd child was around 3 years old .. thi sis a very good educational stuff

Anonymous said...

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Daniel said...

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Baby Car Seat Covers said...

I am a mother of 3 children. I really love them. I will not let them watch TV. because most of the TV can damage their morale. maybe everyone is different opinions, but that's what can I do to keep my children well.

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The point is that DVDs should always be used with parental guidance - we can't just put our children in front of the TV and hope for the best.

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Baby Einstein DVDs are really helpful with your child's development. Thanks for sharing this info.


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ndir said...

If you call 1000 households and ask them what words your child knows and what words your child doesn't know then what learning products they are using the study maintains decent credibility

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Wave said...

That is a good study by University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research. Videos can stimulate and improve an infant's brain and boosts development. Wave of American Recordable Media

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Nestor Beltran said...

Siempre habran puntos de vistas diferentes, los seres humanos no somos iguales y eso es bueno para mantener el equilibrio conceptual ante temas tan importantes como lo es la educación de los niños

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