Baby Einstein

Alright, my last comment on the State of the Union.  How absurd was it for the President to tell the story of some genuine heroes and then move on to Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein?  Tim Noah has a nice smackdown of this absurdity over at Slate:

What is Aigner-Clark's achievement? She got rich marketing videos to
infants. No one told the president, I presume, that this profit-making
scheme ignores advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics that
children under 2 years of age shouldn't watch TV….

“Essentially,” Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan Lynn told the Chicago Tribune “Media Mom” (and occasional Slate contributor) Nell Minow in December 2005,

the
baby video industry is a scam. There's no evidence that the videos are
educational for babies, and a review of the research on babies and
videos concludes that while older babies can imitate simple actions
from a video they've seen several times, they learn much more rapidly
from real life…

“The reality,” wrote the American Academy of Pediatrics, “is that
parents play the videos to give themselves some time to do other
household chores, like cooking dinner or doing laundry. However, they
shouldn't be led to believe that it helps their baby.”

Personally, I think never letting toddlers watch TV is a little extreme.  There were a number of times back in our early days of parenting the precociously terrible two David that Blues Clues videos were the only thing that saved us.  But the idea that you are actually going to make your baby smarter with videos is pretty absurd.  Noah sums it up beautifully:

There's a sucker born every minute, but only a select few get to be president of the United States.

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