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August 7, 2007 

 

Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)   

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 Statement of CCFC’s Dr. Susan Linn on Important New Study:

Slower Language Development for Infants who Watch Baby Media

 

Today, a important new study found that for infants, every hour spent watching baby videos is associated with slower language development ­­  six to eight words less on a standardized vocabulary test than babies who don’t watch.  The study, by Frederick J. Zimmerman,  Dimitri A. Christakis,and Andrew Metzoff, appears in The Journal of Pediatrics.* Below is a statement from CCFC's Dr. Susan Linn on their findings:

 

 “This important study is the clearest indication yet of potential harm caused by the false and deceptive marketing of television programming and DVDs that target babies.  Previous research suggests that television is not a good medium for teaching language to babies.  Now we see that infants (ages 8-16 months) who watch baby videos have a slower rate of language acquisition than infants who do not.  Not only is there no evidence that baby videos do any of the things the baby video industry claims they do, but these media may actually be undermining the development of the very skills they claim to foster. 

 

“We hope that this study spurs the Federal Trade Commission to stop companies from falsely and deceptively marketing their media for babies as educational.  The number one reason parents allow babies to watch television and DVDs is the mistaken belief that the programming is educational and/or good for brain development.  Studies show that 40% of three-month-old babies are regularly placed in front of screens.  By the age of two, 90% are watching for about an hour and a half a day.”

 

Examples of the False and Deceptive Claims from Media Companies that their Products Improve Babies’ Language DevelopmentL:

 

 

BabyFirstTV: Language Playground programming – “Encourages children to develop language through introduction to words, signs, and languages from around the world.” (Ages 6 months to 3 years).  http://www.babyfirsttv.com/categories.asp

 

Baby Einstein: Baby's Favorite Places/First Words/Around Town DVD – “The popular developmental series returns with an educational trip around town.” (Ages 1 and up). http://disneyshopping.go.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/DSIProductDisplay?langId=

 1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10002&productId=1195978&categoryId=13677.

 

Brainy Baby: English ­­ – “Learning First Words.”  (Ages 1 year and up.) http://www.brainybaby.com/shop/html/Products/Videos/English-54.html.

 

 

*Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD, Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, and Andrew Metzoff, PhD (August 7, 2007). Associations between Media Viewing and Language Development in Children Under Two.  Journal of Pediatrics

 

Take Action!

Tell the FTC that Parents Need Honest Information About Baby Videos

 

 

 
 

Read More

CCFC Files FTC Complaint Against Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby and BabyFirstTV

 

 

 

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