It is Molly's first baby after years of infertility. To say she and the family are excited is a BIG understatement! From the first prenatal visit to choosing the wallpaper for the nursery, Molly's husband and both grandparents-to-be are available to help, support, and encourage this mom and new baby. So it's no surprise when Molly receives three copies of the newest Baby Einstein DVD at her first baby shower.
But Molly isn't your average woman. She worked as an Outward Bound instructor before this pregnancy. She has always marveled at the power of interacting personally with nature, and she figures that she is better equipped to educate her baby than the newest video being marketed nationwide.
And, as we know now, Molly is exactly right. Disney, who made $200 million selling this product, is offering refunds to thousands of families after being threatened with a class-action lawsuit for “unfair and deceptive practices.” Parents seem surprised. Those tiny DVD watchers did not become geniuses!
This article describes several studies about kids and TV. A study from Seattle found that for every hour of television watched between the ages of 1 and 3, the risk of attention problems at age 7 increases nearly 10 percent. (Journal of Pediatrics, 2004) This Journal's 2007 article shows a delay in speech for children 8 - 16 months who were exposed to the baby DVD. "For each hour a day spent watching baby DVDs, infants understood on average six to eight fewer words than those who did not watch them." (The big picture is even more startling. By the time the average person reaches age 70, he or she will have spent the equivalent of 7 to 10 years watching television! AAP)
In addition to finding that watching TV does not enhance a baby's intelligence, more recent research shows that kiddie TV watchers become fatter kids. Is it the fast food commercials, the habit of sitting, or the family value of passive entertainment that creates a perfect storm? The answer is still unclear. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises NO screen time for children less than two.
Ironically, it may be that Baby Einstein will actually make Molly's baby smarter! When the baby shower is over, Molly returns the three Baby Einstein DVDs and has enough money to buy herself a new pair of walking boots that fit her pregnancy-sized feet just right. This baby will derive true benefit from exploring the world with Mom and sharing its wonder together. Mom's the real genius here!
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