In 1997 a company called Baby Einstein was founded, which specialized in making so-called educational videos for babies . They were shorts where drawings, puppets, and different characters interacted with each other while teaching some words, shapes, colors, drawings, etc. Exposure to these videos was supposed to be proven effective, with children’s intelligence developing more rapidly over time. The company was quite successful and these videos began to spread. As a result, in 2001 The Walt Disney Company acquired the rights and expanded the brand . Not only did he introduce card games, toys and books, but he created several more categories: baby Mozart, Baby Galileo and Baby Shakespeare among others.
In the end, the success was such that only in the United States one of every three children with relative ages between half a year and two years saw these pictures frequently.
WHAT ARE THESE BABY EINSTEIN VIDEOS?
These videos are classified by the ages of the child , and there are them for all ages. Even from 0 to 2 months. The content logically depends on the age of the child who watches it. Videos from 0 to 2 years old, for example, consist of classical music coupled with repetitive and colorful images , or also words in different languages with the appearance of a chain of shapes or drawings on the screen. As the months increase, the videos incorporate new things, puppets, images of children, complex shapes or more elaborate words. To give you an idea: trains circling, spinning tops, a device to make bubbles, fireworks. Obviously, for adults it is something tremendously boring, but children are immediately absorbed by the screen.
DO THEY REALLY INCREASE THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE CHILD?
Not only are they ineffective, they are counterproductive. The general recommendation of all pediatricians is that for children from 4 years of age the exposure to any type of screen is a maximum of one to two hours at most. But for children under 2 years it is advisable to avoid direct exposure to any type of screen as much as possible.. During this age range the child’s brain is very vulnerable and is continuously developing. Children in front of television are not going to get anything of benefit no matter how “educational” these videos are. There has even been research in which it is believed that exposure to these ages of children is not only ineffective in increasing intelligence but can lead to children with attention problems in the future.
Faced with studies that showed that these videos were ineffective , the Campaign for a Childhood without Ads in the US, also called CCFC for its acronym in English (Campaign for a Commercial Free Chilhood) asked Disney to remove “educational” from the videos, and who claimed that it was misleading advertising (several scientific studies evidenced it) and parents mainly bought them for that reason. At first Disney did not want to take responsibility and they denied the fact that they had said that it improved the intelligence of children, that they were only for entertainment. In the end, the lie fell under its own weight and Disney ended up returning some of the money to the families.they had bought the products and complained in a public campaign. However, the company director Baby Einstein stated that she never wanted to promote the videos as “educational” and that they make the refunds for the loyalty of their customers.
The most controversial study was the one carried out by Psychological Science , a scientific and psychological journal. In it they compared children who watched videos of the Baby Einstein series with children who had never been exposed to them. They put words, shapes and sounds that appeared on the show itself to both groups. The results concluded that there were no statistically significant differences. What’s more, children who interacted with parents instead of sitting in front of the television performed better.
The CCFC recognizes that with older children, drawings can be beneficial in the sense that children can take advantage of them to absorb new knowledge but not at such an early age
SHOULD I LET MY CHILD WATCH THE BABY EINSTEIN VIDEOS?
After reading the article, each one should judge for himself and should also rethink the reason why he wants to do it. If the objective of the parents is for the child to develop his intelligence then he will waste time and money , especially in relation to products oriented to the first months. However, if the objective is to keep the little ones entertained for a while while they are doing other things, then yes, they fulfill that function perfectly, but nothing more. However, do not forget the recommendation of pediatriciansnot to expose children under two years of age to any type of screen. Obviously, the child will not develop an attention disorder from watching a video for half an hour a week, do not be drastic, but it is not advisable to do it every day, not every two …, not even every three … .
WHAT ALTERNATIVES ARE THERE TO INCREASE THE INTELLIGENCE OF BABIES?
Basically, if you want to increase the intelligence of your child interacts with him , the more time you spend by his side, talk to him, play and enjoy his company, the sooner he will start talking and interacting with the world. Another way to promote intelligence is by using ergonomic baby carriers in the sense that in this way they can observe the world to a greater extent compared to a baby that is always inside a stroller. By having direct contact with the world, he has access to more information and the mother will also indirectly communicate more with him.
It is very important to talk to him, tell him what you are doing, what you have done during the day, what you would like to do the next day. As he grows, he includes more variety in the words , for example: “today we meet a brown dog”, the banana is very sweet “, etc. Also try to point to the objects you say . The first months babies will look at your finger and not what you indicate is totally normal and until at least 8 months have passed they will not begin to look at the object in question, but it is a way of initiating it.
Finally, there are no magic recipes that assure us of guarantees, but with effort and patience every seed will bear fruit.