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Baby TV | Child Development | giggle Blogs

baby TV

October 28, 2009

Screen-Based Media

The recent announcement by Disney that they would provide refunds to customers who had purchased Baby Einstein products from 2006 on has fanned the flames of the controversy surrounding “baby TV.” Should we let our babies watch TV at all?   Is all baby TV the same or are there actually distinct alternatives? What are the socially responsible ways to use TV? Since the Kaiser foundation has reported that more the 90% of US households use TV with their babies, I certainly hope we parents are finding sensible ways to use the medium. My personal view is that screen based media is an important part of our world; it is a powerful tool and there are positive ways for our babies to observe, play with, explore and interact with some types of children’s media. My own personal experience with my children is that used in moderation, of course, TV can be used in positive ways. That is why Stephen Gass and I co-created what we believe to be a healthy alternative for baby tv viewing – - eebee’s adventures – - which has been called the “un-Baby Einstein” by the Chicago Tribune. eebee DVDs are not only about the minutes of viewing time but the hours and hours of play and exploration before, during and after the viewing. eebee is a catalyst for real world play and exploration. That is why eebee’s Adventures are the only DVDs carried by a discerning store such as giggle.

Here is an excerpt from the eebee blog that was posted yesterday:

Imagine you’re smiling, laughing, talking, singing or playing a simple game with your baby-and your parenting skills are questioned simply because your playful interactions are a result of something you were watching on TV?

Recent headlines on the topic of “baby TV,” most of which damned Baby Einstein specifically, and, by association, all baby media, and by further association all parents who ever used or even thought of using a baby video with their child, would lead you to believe that all screen time is harmful or simply a waste of time. Others, including many academic and child development voices, argue that baby TV is not a black and white proposition. New research suggests that appropriately designed content can result in learning as well as in increases in real world interactions. It also challenges the somewhat simplistic assumption that if we just turned off the TV all would be right in the world of parenting and child growth and development.

Back in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatricians issued a statement recommending no TV for children under the age of 2. Their concern was based on the lack of research about babies and TV and a fear that TV viewing would take away from critical real-world social and physical interactions. This was followed by some studies that attempted to draw connections between early TV viewing and later learning problems. Many of these studies have been refuted. The most recent research indicates what parents already know: CONTENT MATTERS. The real issues are ones of moderation-making sure that you limit the amount of screen time; content-looking for programming that a baby is capable of not only attending to but understanding; and context-using TV like any other developmental experience for your child…talk about it, describe it, play along and use it as a scaffold for interaction. Damning the medium itself does not help us to understand how, when and why it might be an effective tool. We live in a highly media and screen-centric world. Our goal is to better understand the effective and responsible role of media in all of our lives…and we know now that what’s on the screen and how it’s presented can and does make a difference. That’s what we need to focus on.

Click to read the rest of this baby tv post (www.eebee.com).