Idol Chatter

Parenting magazines and the vast marketing landscape that target new parents have always pushed that children’s videos, like “Baby Einstein” and “Bee Smart Baby,” are a crucial part of the educational upbringing for your babies. These days, the prevailaing theory is that if you don’t show educational videos to your babies and children, they will suffer in the long run.
Over on one of our other Beliefnet blogs, “Feiler Faster,” Bruce Feiler posted today that there isnew research stating that these videos may slow down the very development they are meant to increase.

The research states that: “For every hour a day that babies 8 to 16 months old were shown such popular series as ‘Brainy Baby’ or ‘Baby Einstein,’ they knew six to eight fewer words than other children.”
Feiler writes that though he doesn’t favor spending a lot of time watching TV, he does realize that “there are certain times of the week when a bit of TV helps the car get packed, the lunch get made, and the adventure off the ground. I’m not a jerk (at least on this issue). But I’ve never bought the idea that the Baby Einstein videos and their ilk are actually good.”
I myself, as a parent of a seven and four year old, have often wondered about the harm vs. good of allowing my kids to watch TV, and I always tempered that doubt with the thought,”well, it’s educational programming they’re watching (they tend to watch only Noggin) … ”
I guess the moral of the story is that we shouldn’t be duped by marketing ploys that aim to make us–parents–feel like if our kids don’t watch educational videos and television, they will suffer. Kids will be kids. They will watch TV, and better it be decent TV then garbage (and my idea of decent TV also includes pure fun stuff like old “Tom & Jerry” and “Pink Panther” videos).
Besides, if you want to help the development of your babies and kids, what could be better then reading to them, or playing with them? It makes for some rewarding moments as well.

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