Baby Einstein: Dont let him teach your babies.

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Parents all around the U.S. are spending their money on baby videos that help their children learn at a younger age while some parents won't allow their children to have any type of screen time. Video's such as Alphabet Beats and Barney are stereotyped to accelerate knowledge development.

Here is an example of the video we have all heard of Baby Einstein:


According to Psyc Central and Science Time tests have been done that show these movies are not developing knowledge at faster rate then those children that do not watch them. The two main reasons they are said to be ineffective is because the movies are over stimulating to the brain and no social interaction. The studies showed that children who watched them scored lower on their language tests then the children who were never exposed to them. If this research has been posted then why are people still buying them? After reading these articles and looking more into these topic I agree with what the researchers have found. Not just with these videos but all videos are not benefiting humans by any means. Screen time only entertains our brains not strengthen it. I feel that everyone in today's world has become to dependent on screen time for learning and just helping out with every part of our daily lives.

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Do you think these learning videos are a benefit to growing children? Are these videos actually hurting the development of children's brains? How do you know what too much screen time is for children? Does this mean that the world has become more stupid since screen time is such a big part of our life?


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Thanks for sharing these findings and opinions. I find this topic rather interesting and have always had a set opinion against the findings you stated. Though I'm sure some research has pointed in the direction of tv/educational television still "rotting our brains", I think there is probably also some research that shows otherwise. Correlation may not equal causation. I think some forms of educational programming may be in fact a waste of time, but not all. I'm more a believer of engaging, analytical types of shows and activities. Screen time should be limited, but if it is utilized correctly I personally think it can have positive outcomes. I think that strategic video games are a great example. I grew up with video games in my hands consistently, some of which required critical thinking and wasn't just mindless shooting like today's mainstream gaming. This is of course anectdotal evidence, but it still fortifies some of my beliefs on this topic.

I TOTALLY agree with what researcher's have found, and I think it makes total sense. Of course these kids are going to have a lower language development if all their doing is watching TV all day! These other children who scored higher on their language tests are probably out socializing with other children. You don't retain information by simply watching it on TV, you have to use it too (i.e social interactions outside of the home)!
Thank you for these awesome findings!
Another interesting fact is it's been found recently in the U.S. that "Ricket's"-- a Vit D deficiency-- is making a huge comeback, especially in children in the U.S, because they aren't getting outside to play enough. We receive Vitamin D from the sun light, and eating a well balanced diet (i.e enough veggies and less nasty lunch food served currently in school cafeteria's). Instead, most children are being captivated inside by video games/television/internet. Interesting, huh?

Most parents want their children to be smart! So, if someone tells them that a particular product, like Baby Einstein, will make their children smart, chances are they'll buy it, especially if it's the "new" thing on the market. I know people who have sat their child down in front of the TV with Baby Einstein turned on. I think that parents need to be aware of their findings so that they do not waste their money on these movies! Also, I do think that small children should not be allowed to watch TV until a certain age, although, I do not think that TV alone is causing children to "become stupid".

I feel like these are not useful because babies learn through social interaction and exploring the physical world. They are too young to learn through observation, they need feedback. However, I think for adults and teenagers movies can be educational.

You asked the question that if no benefits are seen from watching these movies then why are parents still allowing their children to watch them and I think this is because people do not know about this research. This, reading about it in your article, was the first time I have heard this, except for in the psychology lectures. The problem is that most people (adults having young children) have not taken psychology at all or did a while ago. I think the main main reason people continue to put their children in fornt of the TV expecting them to learn is because that is how they were raised themselves. They figured they turned out just fine so their parents must not have done anything too drastically wrong. I also have a question about when you said that watching TV only entertains our mind, it doesn't stregthen it. I would have to disagree becuase we watch videos all the time to learn stuff, for example "Bill Nye the Science Guy," or topics on the "Discovery Channel." Youtube has also been proven to be beneficial to all my lecture professors in college and teachers in high school. I think TV can be beneficial as a learning tool as well as a mind stimulater.

I feel that some educational television can be beneficial. I think that where some people get in trouble is when they replace reading a book with educational television. Nothing can replace the brain stimulation a young child gets from reading a book. So instead of only watching television or only reading there should be a healthy balance with still the majority of the time spent reading. Nothing is wrong with a little Barney here and there I still believe it can be a beneficial learning tool to kids.

I think that yes, if this is all that is used it does not help children learn and can even hinder their learning ability. However, my godson is currently at an age where my sister is putting these shows on for him and I am seeing an improvement. The difference is that she most often sits and interacts with him as well. There are many times he will be just watching the show, but she will walk in and ask him questions and when he is away from the TV (which is quite often), she continues to interact with him. When we are eating she will ask him what they are eating and he can tell you. I don't go home for months at a time and every time I have come back I am surprised at his intelligence level at not even two. I am constantly being told by my sister not to say something because he will register what I am saying and ask to go do it or ask to have it. It is insane how fast a child can pick up on things. But I am digressing, I think that with social interaction and other influences such as TV, on tape books, games, and personal experience, a child can become quite intelligent. Having all of one will hinder complete ability to learn from things in my opinion.

I don't think that screen time has necessarily made the population less smart but has done other damage. I think it has changed peoples motivation due to rewards. The fact that since they "learn" that they are gaining knowledge by watching television they don't realize that there is more to learning than just watching something. I do agree that these shows aren't necessarily helping these kids gain any more knowledge than the others it is just another form of "playing".

This is a well done post Ashley! You post a nice video and supporting articles and get right to the point asking several important questions about screen time for children.

I have to admit that I too was suckered by the baby einstein craze when my kids were little, and also before I was actively studying psychology unfortunately!

I don't know what too much screen time is for kids and it is likely that watching videos is not all that harmful to their developing brains. What I think is harmful is training our kids early to sit still in front of a screen for hours at a time!

People still buy these videos because they work at keeping kids occupied and some people might take some comfort believing that they are building brain power and the confirmation bias prevents them from being more skeptical.

Really just a waste of money.

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This page contains a single entry by thom3393 published on March 25, 2012 10:37 PM.

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