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Baby Einstein Confesses: "We're Not So Smart"

The New York Times reported last week that
Disney, who owns the Baby Einstein franchise, is offering a refund
to all their consumers. Apparently, they received a threatening
letter from a collection of public-health lawyers who are
considering a possible “deceptive advertising” lawsuit
against the franchise. They’ve got studies on their side
which show links between early childhood television-watching and
poor attention spans later down the line, and of course the
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that there be no
television at all for children under the age of two years, for the
same reason.

I know how tempting the videos can be
– something that’s supposed to make your kid smarter
and give you time to make dinner at the same time! No flashcards
required! So I’m sure there are a lot of bitter parents out
there looking at Disney’s almost-apology, near-retraction as
a betrayal. The thing is, there are no shortcuts to good parenting,
and deep down in our hearts we all know that.

Here’s a link to the href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html"
target="_blank">original article
–
you’re interested, and want to get your money back.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I follow the AAP
guidelines and neither of my girls watched any television before
they turned two, but I will say this: Baby Einstein isn’t a
miracle tutor. It will not make your infant more likely to get into
Harvard. But if you’re having a serious case of the baby
blues and just need to be left ALONE for a few minutes, it’s
not the worst thing in the world. And believe me, I’d rather
you put your Baby Einstein video on for your two-month-old to watch
than MTV. Of course, I'd really rather you put your two-month-old
down in his crib and let him play with his mobile for fifteen
minutes while you pull yourself together, but that's another

All I’m saying is that Baby Einstein's not the best thing
out there, but if you’ve let your kid watch it, it’s
not the worst thing either. So don’t beat yourself up.

Beat up Disney instead. First Baby Einstein, then those stupid
princesses, then Hannah Montana – they’ve got the
addictions all lined up for our kids for the next fifteen years!
Curse you, Disney.


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