Are Baby Einstein Videos Educational?

Every parent knows about Baby Einstein videos.? The company was started in the 1990’s by Julie Clark.? They combine classical music, colors, moving images, and babies are mesmerized by them.

The videos started out very low budget.? In the early ones you can see the operators hands working the toys.? Eventually, the company was bought by Disney and the new ones have more animated characters and video effects.? There was always an underlying premise, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated, that these videos were educational, or at least, that it was better for a child than other television shows.

Well, Baby Einstein has been in the news recently and it’s been causing a bit of a stir.? And you know how much SuburbanDaddy loves a good controversy :-)

Under pressure from parent activists, Disney issued an “upgrade” policy that allows anyone who purchased Baby Einstein DVD’s between 2004 and 2009, to exchange it for a book, music CD, or $15.99.

There are so many crazy parts to this I don’t know where to begin.? First, how could anyone really believe, despite what a marketing message may suggest, that watching these videos could somehow be educational or beneficial to a child?? I mean, is anyone really surprised by Disney’s implicit admission they may have misled consumers.? What?!!? A company trying to sell its products made them sound good?

Everyone knows watching television isn’t the best use of a baby’s time.? But we still do it because, while it may not be as educational as Baby Einstein would want us to believe, it also isn’t quite as harmful as activists warn.? Plus TV is very helpful when you need a few minutes of calm.? I know many kids who watched a lot of TV (me included) that turned into perfectly well adjusted, functioning members of society.

But this is what really gets me.? The videos, at least the early ones, are nothing more than recordings of actual baby toys.? So a baby is seeing the exact same thing as if they were sitting next to the toy, except the toy is on the television instead of in person.? I don’t hear anyone calling for removal of these toys.? It’s like saying watching football is ok in person, but if you watch the exact same game on a television, somehow that becomes harmful.

Where do you stand on this important matter?

3 thoughts on “Are Baby Einstein Videos Educational?”

  1. You don’t really understand much about a baby’s brain works. There is an enormous difference for a baby – remember, that’s who these videos are for – between watching a video of a toy and playing with a toy.

  2. Actually, watching a video of a toy is much different than watching a video of the toy especially for a child two and under. It doesn’t matter what the child is watching as it television itself that is the problem. There is something inherent in a flat projected moving image that has negative effects on very young children’s brain development. That’s what the study is referring to. So in that sense there is no such thing as an “education video” for a toddler. They are also talking about the deliberate forced watching of TV by kids two and under. That should never be done.

    By the way I really like your use of thing 1,2 and 3 to name your kids. it’s tough to find away to blog about your family yet stay keep some privacy. Clever compromise.

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