Posted by: babbo | March 8, 2008

Baby Einstein: The Target of Stupid Claims about Kids & Educational TV

I recently read two posts (see links below) on one of my favorite daddy blogs: Working Dad: An Unauthorized Guide to Parenting. The topic? Educational DVD’s for children, including Baby Einstein.

There’s a coalition called “Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood,” that believes these educational videos are not educational at all, and may actually be harmful to small children. Although the coalition mentions only a couple of children’s DVD producers, the implications are clear that no children’s educational TV is safe from this scrutiny. Which is fine, as long as common sense and intelligence lead the way.

In this case, I believe the statements made by the coalition are ridiculous, untrue, and just plain stupid.

I have seen both of my boys benefit from a LIMITED AMOUNT of television/DVD viewing. Especially programs like Thomas the Tank Engine, and other “educational” programs including Baby Einstein.

It has helped with speech, as well as learning colors and numbers. DVD’s have helped them build cognitive process by improving their ability to follow a story (sequence and succession of events). I personally find it fun, satisfying and comforting to watch these DVD’s with them. Sure, kids who learn only from DVD’s and TV do not experience the same learning advantages as kids who learn with their parents as well. I don’t need to get a grant and hold a study to make this statement — it’s common sense!

What it comes down to is this: Good parents take responsibility for their kids, and themselves. Bad parenting is bad parenting, no matter how much TV a child watches — educational or otherwise. It’s all about how good of a parent you are, how and how much you interact with your kids. If you use an educational DVD as a learning tool, great! But parents who use it as a babysitter or in leiu of personal interaction, are bad parents. How can anyone in his or her right mind think a DVD like this could be harmful?

Excuse my sarcasm, but I’d like to meet the 6-month old that was interviewed about the Baby Einstein series. I’m sure his quote of: “I find they have no educational value, at least not for me,” sounded a lot more like “gaa, poo poo, baba, dada.” Point being, adults don’t really know what’s going on in the minds of little ones when they watch TV.

I also find part of Baby Einstein’s response to all this offensive and insulting. “Since day one, Baby Einstein products have been about moms and babies spending meaningful moments together…” Yet ANOTHER major children’s company has left out dads. Maybe I’m being picky, but you know what? I AM A DAD. I TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS, JUST LIKE MY WIFE. I’m not off doing “manly” things, and it’s about time these major corporations respected that.

Maybe the people who make these comments should shift gears and examine the social implications of major companies who constantly exclude dads! Could that be something that affects our kids negatively? Not to mention dads? Something to think about for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood…

How about a campaign for common sense!

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Feel free to post them.

And remember, you are not alone…

Links to Working Dad’s original postings:
Baby Einstein – Part 1
Baby Einstein – Part 2

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Responses

  1. I agree — the key word is “limited” amount of TV. My daughter learned more about letter sounds in just a few viewings of Leap Frog’s DVD “The Letter Factory” than she did in her first six months of preschool, but she gained numerous social skills from interacting with others in her preschool class. We can’t rely on any single tool, and parent involvement is certainly the most important thing, but I think it’s okay to let our kids be kids too, whether that means watching a little TV once in a while, playing outdoors and risking scraping a knee, or working out their own issues with siblings or other kids without constant parent intervention.

    I like your note about the importance of Dads in parenting. I mean, what century are we living in anyway? Almost every father I know with young kids participates fully in the parenting process. My own husband carries the lion’s share in many ways, while juggling a full time job and numerous activities, and our girls are much better PEOPLE because of it. (Not to mention, I am a much saner woman because of his patience, care, sense of fun, and total involvement in every phase of our family life together.)

  2. There are many benefits to DVDs/TV and the social interaction between the child with mom, DAD and the other siblings. Each child is different and the parents seem to be puppets in these social experiments…evryone has an agenda to push on us.

    Things were so easy (althought it didn’t seem like it at the time) when we had one. Now we have three…yikes.

    Mass Chaos!

  3. Another great article. My daughter was able to benefit from watching some educational DVD’s. She’s also in day care and gets a tremendous amount of social activity every day (her day care does not have tv’s) To me she gets the best of both worlds.

    It irritates me to no end when I hear about companies that conveniently forget that dads these days are much more involved in the lives of their children.


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