vocabulary DVDs may make your baby dumber

In various parts of the world, integrating technology with education is a new and exciting trend, trying to incorporate computers into the classroom, using DVDs to help when teachers are poorly qualified, etc. However, we might want to hold off on the DVDs until the children are a little bit older, from a randomized trial study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, by Rebekah Richert and three other people.

This, from a nice summary of the work in the Guardian:

In the new study, researchers focused on the Baby Wordsworth DVD, which is part of the Baby Einstein series. It uses puppets, videos of children and parents, pictures, sign language, text, and speech to help children learn 30 words for common objects and rooms in the house. The researchers wanted to find out if regularly watching this type of DVD actually helps young children develop their language skills.

Children who watched the DVD regularly were no more likely to know the words featured in the DVD than those who didn’t watch it.

The study included 96 children aged 12 months to 24 months, half of whom watched the DVD regularly for six weeks. Parents were told to use the DVD as they would any other type of children’s media, giving them leeway to decide whether they would watch the DVD with their child.

Every couple of weeks, the researchers tested both groups’ knowledge of the 30 words featured in the DVD by showing the children pairs of pictures and asking them to point to the one showing the word. The parents were also interviewed about their child’s use and understanding of these words.

At the end of the study, there were no differences between the groups in the numbers of words understood, words said, or pictures identified.

The researchers found no difference between the DVD and no-DVD groups in overall language skills at the end of the study. They also found no link between children’s language skills and how often they watched DVDs in general. However, they did find that children who had first watched a Baby Einstein DVD at a very young age lagged slightly in their language development.

1 thought on “vocabulary DVDs may make your baby dumber”

  1. Interesting study, but I would like to see a comparative study between Einstein and Brainy Baby. I just read the latest study from the University of Texas that shows BRAINY BABY was able to teach children under the age of two, something like 22 times more. That agrees with my own research at home using Brainy Baby. I had no success with Baby Einstein, so I can agree with the Richert findings on Einstein.

    However, even though this is a good infomation, the tendencies from the media is to take such studies and “label” every baby DVD out there. There are good DVD products that are beneficial and now Brainy Baby has the science to back it up. Although the author of this study makes no comparisons of assumptions regarding other baby DVDs, I am sure that it is only a matter of time before others will make an unfair comparision.

    Let’s do better this time and accept the fact that there are good products and bad products. If the science helps to support that, then let’s stop making this a war between DVD believer’s and non-believer’s. To each his or her own in moderation and what is best for their family!

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