Media Production

Are Educational Videos for Children Effective?

In November’s Psychological Science, researchers report that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on videos designed for new babies is probably wasted.  (Any surprise there?)  They compared groups of babies that watched an educational DVD compared with a control group who didn’t.

Even when parents watched the video with the children and interacted with them, it still didn’t do better than those teaching their children without videos.  While some parents insist these videos are effective, the researchers indicate that it’s just naturally rapid child development.

The lesson?  Maybe it’s time we stopped using DVD’s as babysitters and start interacting in person with our children.

Any thoughts or first-hand experience out there on the subject?

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  1. I agree we need more one on one interaction with kids instead of relying on videos. I honestly think those Edu videos are worthless. Some are good, but alot of them are so lame. Plus I think more personal interaction would definatly benefit the family as a whole and build stronger relationships.

  2. Thank you so much! Ive been trying to find a way to justify trying to convince my parents (and others) to stop buying “Baby Einstein” (and others) for my 16 moth old daughter. For me it was just the simple fact that I didnt get it. I mean, Have you seen these vidoes? This stuff is junk my 14 year old brother could splice together in iMovie. The only use I have found for these type of DVD’s is that its a great way to put her down for her afternoon nap (soothing background noise).

    Granted, I dont have a clue about anything to do whith Childhood Psycology, but after watching these videos for about 2 minutes I can help but feel dumber myself. Media is great. I make my income off of designing print pieces and motion graphics (although not even close to Phil’s level), and it is usfull in so many aspects but; what ever happened to just being a good parent? The DVD player didnt choose to bring a child into this world so why would we expect the DVD player to raise and educate our children?

    I emailed all my family and friends (and a few other parents) about this article! Thanx Phil! You rock, and are greatly admired here in Dayton Ohio!!! Now I can finally make the baby einstein madness stop (in my home at least)!

  3. My thoughts…. To be a diligent parental steward, you have to INVEST YOURSELF into your child’s life. Parents, not DVD’s, have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills… especially in the first five years of their life. In those short critical years a child’s future is formed; mental, emotional and social health, happiness, growth, development, learning abilities… those five years become the springboard of their future. Parents are children’s best teachers… there is no substitute… not even high-tech DVD’s.

  4. I can’t help but agree with everyone’s comments so far. Even as someone who creates video curriculum, I never really understood how a DVD could teach a child better than real-world interaction.

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