Baby Einstein won’t make your child a genius

Here’s a shocker. Television doesn’t improve learning skills for children under 2. If that seems like common sense to you, it apparently didn’t for the makers of the “Baby Einstein” DVD series. Apparently the movies were sold under the guise of “learning” devices since 1997 and have been under fire since the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the product making false claims to enhance children’s learning, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The latest study has shown that watching these videos can actually harm babies and make it harder for them to learn new words, according to a Time magazine article. This is an example of why we shouldn’t always believe what we hear.

Product claims, such as these, should be taken with a grain of salt. Is your child really going to become a genius just by listening to Mozart and watching these videos? I would venture to say no. At the very least, the videos are entertaining, colorful and provide a distraction when mom needs to make dinner. The claims seem a little over the top, considering we live in a world where we are assaulted by ridiculous product claims all the time. We should know that we can’t really believe everything we see and hear, despite the fact that it is illegal to make false or deceitful product exaggerations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch television at all. This seems unrealistic, since plenty of babies (including myself) grew up watching Sesame Street and other family-friendly fare. People should know that they can’t depend on a DVD to make their child’s budding brains flourish. Babies need to be read to, played with and interacted with daily to increase their learning potential.

The idea that classical music makes people smarter (now called “The Mozart Myth”) started when people listening to Mozart or other classical musicians performed better at cognitive skills. Now studies reveal that the music itself is what has a positive effect on the listener, according to Psychology Today. If the listener enjoys the music, it will have a relaxing and positive effect, allowing him or her to think a little bit better. Maybe there is a reason I always listen to Rob Zombie when I am studying.

Don’t depend on a source outside yourself to educate your children. Part of the fun of being a parent is having a hand in who your child becomes and watching them learn new things. In the meantime, you can head to Toys R Us and get your refund for your “Baby Einstein” DVDs. Spend the money on some new books and read to your tot instead of plunking him down in front of the tube.

Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communications major for Hillsboro.