Products can't really help babies read, study says - New York News

Products can't really help babies read, study says

Updated:

By: Jason Hardy, Deseret News

Parents are besieged by claims that it is within their power to acquire the resources to help their babies develop needed cognitive skills, and a growing “genius baby” industry has been preying upon anxious parents for the past decade, according to a recent article in The Atlantic.

“Teaching your baby to read is easy,” promises MonkiSee. Intellbaby assures parents “your baby can actually learn to read beginning at 3 months of age.”

The article highlights a new study led by Susan Neuman of New York University that demonstrated parents can be highly susceptible to this kind of messaging and sometimes actually believe in the efficacy of the products, even though “children do not have the internal capability to learn how to read at this young of age.”

Parents and their infants were divided into two groups. One group did not use any “genius baby” goods; the other group of infants used commercial products packaged with bold educational claims each day with their parents. After seven months, the infants went through a battery of 14 reliable and state-of-the-art tests designed to measure early and emergent learning. Researchers also interviewed the parents.

The first group of parents reported that their babies could not read, just as before. The second group believed that their infants learned reading skills, “despite countervailing evidence,” according to Neuman.

All babies performed the same on the tests and indeed are too young to be able to read. While the study found no evidentiary basis for the corporations' claims, it recorded that educational or not, the advertisements were powerful enough to shape parents beliefs about their babies.

The exit interviews seem to reflect what The Atlantic calls “the blinding power of parental ambition.”

The NYU study is the latest in a line indicating that the baby media products have no demonstrable educational value. A 2010 University of Virginia study found that infants between 12 and 18 months learned roughly the same vocabulary regardless of whether they used materials.

“Parents have great confidence in the impact of these products on their children,” writes Neuman. “This sentiment is misplaced.”

Effective advertising can have the potential to cause parents to act, and even change their beliefs, according to Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Linn told the New York Times that Fisher-Price advertises that its apps teach language and other skills, and have been downloaded from the iTunes store millions of times.

Linn's complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about such advertising forced companies to drop "educational" claims from their marketing and that armed a group of lawyers to threaten a class-action suit against Baby Einstein, a Disney company, the Times reported.

The company responded by offering refunds to millions of parents in 2009, according to the Consumerist, while accusing the CCFC of mounting a propaganda campaign against Baby Einstein.

But outside the claims of misleading information, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents not expose children under 2 years of age to any digital media.

"A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens," the AAP stated.


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Congressman's ad includes Soviet medals

    Congressman's ad includes Soviet medals

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:38 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:38:06 GMT
    A New Jersey congressman's office is red-faced after a Facebook ad about veteran benefits that appeared to feature Russian military medals.
    A New Jersey congressman's office is red-faced over a Facebook ad about veteran benefits that featured Soviet military medals. Rep. Scott Garrett's spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the office was sorry an initial review did not catch the use of the stock photo. Maggie Seidel says the ad was produced by an outside vendor and is no longer running. The ad asked people to like Garrett's page to learn what he's doing to support veterans' benefits.
  • Torture video leads to kidnapping convictions

    Torture video leads to kidnapping convictions

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:26 GMT
    A jury shown the videotaped torture of a kidnapping victim has convicted the two men who held a man captive for 17 hours at a Buffalo home because they thought he was a police informant. Authorities say the two men kidnapped a 25-year-old crack addict they accused of being a snitch. Video from Dawson's cellphone shows a gun being shoved into the victim's mouth and the victim being forced to lick his own blood off the boot of a captor.
    A jury shown the videotaped torture of a kidnapping victim has convicted the two men who held a man captive for 17 hours at a Buffalo home because they thought he was a police informant. Authorities say the two men kidnapped a 25-year-old crack addict they accused of being a snitch. Video from Dawson's cellphone shows a gun being shoved into the victim's mouth and the victim being forced to lick his own blood off the boot of a captor.
  • 17,000 red light camera tickets dismissed

    17,000 red light camera tickets dismissed

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:39:23 GMT
    A technical glitch in a red light camera operating system means that some 17,000 motorists in New Jersey will not have to pay a fine for running red lights. Computer problems between May 28 and June 30 resulted in motorists not receiving notices of violations. New Jersey law requires that if a ticket hasn't been served within 90 days, it must be dismissed.
    A technical glitch in a red light camera operating system means that some 17,000 motorists in New Jersey will not have to pay a fine for running red lights. Computer problems between May 28 and June 30 resulted in motorists not receiving notices of violations. New Jersey law requires that if a ticket hasn't been served within 90 days, it must be dismissed.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices