Educational DVDs designed to boost babies and toddlers’ IQs do more harm than good, according to a recent study. In light of this, Disney is offering parents in North America a refund on the range of Baby Einstein DVDs, which cost about £18 each, a move that leading child psychologists have welcomed.
The study found that children who watched educational DVDs between the ages of 7 months and 16 months knew fewer words and phrases than their peers. For every hour per day the children watched the DVDs, they had six fewer words in their vocabulary.
“Virtual life cannot beat real life when it comes to language acquisition in children,” Dr Aric Sigman, a leading psychologist and fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, told the Sunday Telegraph. “There is a tremendous amount of money in convincing parents that virtual means of coaching their infants and toddlers to speak are vastly superior to Mother Nature.”
Campaigners are now calling for a similar deal for parents in the UK. “Anybody who has these videos in the UK should be given equal treatment and be able to demand a refund too,” says Pippa Smith, founder of lobby group Mediamarch.
Disney dropped the word ‘educational’ from its Baby Einstein marketing in 2006.