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Can Technology Turn Babies into Einsteins?

12/28/2005:   Technology has crept into nearly every facet of modern day life and for all age groups. Before babies even reach their first birthday, they are being introduced to videos, DVDs, and computers.

Media products specifically designed for young children include baby videos like Baby Einstein, computer programs like JumpStart Baby, toddler-friendly video game consoles like the V.Smile, interactive DVD systems such as InteracTV, and handheld game systems like the Leapster.

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for babies under age two, and no more than 1-2 hours a day of high quality educational screen media for children ages two years and older, many of today’s media products are advertised as educational for kids. Seventy-six percent of the top-selling videos/DVDs listed for babies from birth to two years old on Amazon.com, and almost all of the top-rated software and video game products, make educational claims, according to a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief.

The issue brief highlights how frequently educational claims are made, explores the types of claims made, and investigates the degree to which the claims are validated through research on children’s learning outcomes.

The issue brief notes that while some companies conduct in-house research to test the effectiveness of their product, there are no published studies on cognitive outcomes for any of the educational video/DVDs, c mputer software programs, or video game systems currently on the market for children ages 0-6 years old.


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