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Friday, March 05, 2010

Educational DVDs don't help tots

Mar 5, 2010- Straits Times

Educational DVDs don't help tots

NEW YORK - PUTTING children in front of educational DVDs does not help boost their language skills, according to a US study that focused on one product, the Baby Wordsworth from the Walt Disney Company's Baby Einstein series.

While The Baby Einstein Co does not make educational claims, it notes on its webpage that the Baby Wordsworth DVD is a 'playful introduction to words and sign language'. A study by researchers at the University of California, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, put the DVD to the test with one and two-year-olds.

For six weeks, 88 children were randomly assigned to either watching the DVD a few times a week or not at all. Researchers then tested the language skills in each group based on how many words the children knew according to their parents and how well they did in a lab test.

At the end of the period, toddlers who had watched the DVD fared no better than those who hadn't.

Children in both groups understood about 20 of the 30 words highlighted in the DVD, on average, and spoke 10. Their general language development showed no difference, either.

The researchers also asked parents about their childrens'television viewing before entering the study. The earlier a child started watching Baby Einstein DVDs, it turned out, the smaller his or her vocabulary was. -- REUTERS