Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bogus Science

Slate weighs in on the State of the Union skutnick to Angier-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein.

All the usual attacks on Baby education videos are trotted out, that they are based on junk science, that the American Association of Pediatrics recomends that children under 2 not watch TV and so on.

What is striking about these attacks is that they utterly lack any evidence themselves. The evidence that the videos provide an educational benefit is not very good. But there is certainly no evidence that the videos cause harm.

The advice from the American Association of Pediatrics is similarly bogus:
'Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children younger than two years of age.'

In other words 'we don't have the slightest idea what we are talking about but we will give some advice because to not do so might attract criticism'.

Update: If one was to criticize the Baby Einstein gang for anything it should be for their rapacious pricing, $90 for a box of eight 30 minute DVDs. I know tots have short attention spans but that is no excuse for short changing them. A $14 DVD should have a minimum of 2 hours material, particularly material as cheap to produce as theirs.

The other criminal practice is their use of the DVD navigation lockout feature to force watching of a commercial for other Disney content. While the tots are screaming for their baby movie this is the last thing either of you wants.

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