Friday, 2 November 2007

The Baby Brain Drain

My husband pointed out this article from The Times, written by the respected Dr Miriam Stoppard. She discusses the dubious claims of Baby Einstein (or Mozart or Newton, whatever it's called) that say these DVDs can actually make your baby smarter.

Her conclusions, unsurprisingly, treat those claims like the pile of rubbish they are. This quote from the article particularly stood out to me:
...for every hour that infants of 8-16 months watch videos such as Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby they understood 6-8 fewer words than other babies who were not exposed to such videos.
It's like the television is this mental hoover, sucking the thoughts out of our children. Quite frankly, if true, I'm horrified.

I admit that I have used television as a babysitter on more than one occasion. Sometimes, when the kids are sniping at each other and all three are clambering for my attentions whilst simultaneously beating each other to a pulp, a bit of Disney is the only thing that will calm them down. It's also a way for me to hide away behind the computer for an hour or so.

We don't have a tv licence, so the normal television airways are not piped into the house. The kids get their tv fix through DVDs of television shows or movies. I was planning on buying a new movie or two to add to their collection, but now I'm not so sure. Do I really want my kids glued to the screen? Shouldn't I be a more attentive and creative mother, able to handle the rough times and stay away from the lure of the computer screen?

I'm sure a healthy balance can be reached; moderation is key in most aspects of life, after all. But my 10 month old needs to be kept away from the television more than the others, I think. If tv time is restricted to Baby's naptime, limits would be easier to enforce. Sounds like a plan.

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