Q: I hear that Disney is offering full refunds for Baby Einstein videos, but I don’t really understand why. I received some of these videos as baby shower gifts and my 7-month-old son seems to enjoy them. What do you recommend?
–Buzz on Baby Videos in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
A: Dear Buzz,
It’s true! After years of pressure by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), Disney is offering a full refund (or exchange for another product) for any Baby Einstein video bought within the past 5 years.
The CCFC called Disney to task for marketing these videos as educational (even the name "Einstein" implies that the videos will help kids become geniuses), even though none of the scientific research shows that they increase learning. In fact, the research that has been done on the effects of media exposure on babies shows either no effects at all or associations with negative health outcomes, like language delays.
Why might these be the results? Because your baby was born with a brain that is developing in response to his environment. The activities that are best for his brain development include face-to-face interaction with people, manipulation of objects in his physical environment, and open-ended, creative, problem-solving play. No electronic screen, regardless of the content it shows, can provide any of these learning situations. >>Related question: How will TV affect our 3-month-old?
For that reason, I recommend that you take advantage of Disney’s offer of a refund for your Baby Einstein videos. If, like many parents, TV or baby videos are one of the ways you keep your child entertained while you get things done around the house, check out this post for ideas on other activities your child can do while you make dinner or take a shower. You could even use your refund to buy a toy that your son will get much more out of; check out this great list of toy ideas for young kids.
Enjoy your media and use them wisely,