Should Santa bring baby an educational DVD?

Ho ho hokum.

Those are my seasons greetings to Baby Einstein and the rest of the infant educational complex. If you’re wondering what to buy baby that’ll guarantee ‘em a good time, a bright future and possible admission to a college that Obama went to, so-called “educational” videos are not the way to go. Here’s what Harvard’s Susan Linn has to say:

 ”Baby educational media is brilliantly marketed and a complete and utter scam.”

Linn is a psychologist and founder of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. It was her organization that got Baby Einstein to drop the word “educational” from its web site because, guess what? There is no evidence that its tapes are educational. In fact, Linn argues that DVDs for babies actually do the opposite of stimulating them.

“What we know about babies is that they learn through active exploration of the world, through all their senses. They don’t learn by sitting and watching a video.” They learn by playing — with you, with their toes, maybe with the case the DVD comes in. Despite Baby Einstein’s best efforts to make you think your kid is going to slump at the bottom of the bell curve without a $14.99 boost from the wonderful world of kiddie media, it’s just not so.

How much screen time does the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend for children under the age of two? Ze-ro. Nada. None. It would rather kids interact with the world.

Of course, there is one way in which baby videos are undeniably instructive. They teach children to sit there drooling and staring at the tube. Now if only they could teach them to grab a beer and hog the remote, I guess their work would be done. — Lenore

 P.S. For that “Free Range Kids” book I’m writing: Does anyone have a story about a silly safety device they bought, or any awful educational toy they thought would enhance their children’s lives…that didn’t? Thanks! L.


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