I must admit that my 20 month old son learned his ABCs from the alphabet playlist at youtube. I suspect that he might have learned it earlier. If you quiz him the ABCs (and 1 to 10 now), he can correctly identify each capital letters and numbers 1 to 10. Instead of being pleased, I am a bit worried. He should be learning his alphabet from me and not from some electronic media. I also admit that in order to quiet him down while he climbs up my lap (while I am doing my freelance work in the computer) and also to prevent him from pulling out the keys in the computer, I let him view the alphabet and number songs. These are short intervals in the morning followed by actual play with his ‘real’ toys. I am writing about this because I have since stopped using the marketed ‘educational’ videos claiming to make your babies ‘brainy’ or become another ‘einstein.’ Danielle was treated to a dose of these videos when she was a about 6 months to a year and a half until Grace prompted me of an article questioning the effectiveness of these videos.
Today, I made some research if there are journal articles on the topic. One particular article published by the Journal of Pediatrics on 2007 studying the association between media viewing and language development of babies under two years old caught my attention. The article says that there is a strong association between media viewing of baby dvds/videos and a decrease in MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) scores among children under two years old. These children were exposed to an average of one hour media viewing. This means that generally, if very young children are exposed to early viewing of even educational dvds, this would result to poor language development.
It should be noted that the study is not entirely conclusive and more research should be done on the topic. However, I think this is good information for parents of very young kids like me. Results of the study indirectly emphasizes our role as parents to personally teach them and not heavily rely their learning on educational dvds.
I have long ago let go of Danielle’s baby videos and have not exposed josh to any of them (except for the internet). But I also do not believe that we should totally rule them out in our children’s lives. I think a little exposure would do but not too much and only when it’s supervised. To practice what I believe, I am now limiting Josh’s viewing of the alphabet online. Instead, we repeat the letters almost every morning using the alphabet books of Danielle.
How about you, do you think that we should not patronize the educational dvds? Why or why not?
Photo courtesy: baby images (for illustration purposes only)