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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2009 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Non-admission on baby videos

By Marybeth Hicks





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It has a long way to go to make its organization's name a reality, but the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood claimed an important recent victory.

CCFC has for years sought to reveal the truth about so-called educational videos designed ostensibly to increase the brainpower of growing babies. Studies show no measurable gains in intelligence or verbal skills associated with baby videos. In fact, researchers at the University of Washington found that for every hour per day of screen viewing by infants aged 8 to 16 months, a measurable decrease occurs in communicative development.

In 2006, CCFC filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Baby Einstein and brand owner Disney, charging that the company's marketing misled parents into thinking the videos could positively impact development and learning.

At that time, Disney stopped claiming that Baby Einstein videos were educational (in so many words). But it didn,t admit outright that it was selling a product under false pretenses.

CCFC kept up the pressure, and last week, Disney announced it would refund buyers for up to four Baby Einstein videos - not that there,s anything wrong with them, mind you, but just in case some folks mistakenly thought the product would make their babies smarter. The company says this is Disney,s standard quality guarantee.

There are a few lessons to be learned from Disney,s non-admission of false advertising. "Caveat emptor" is one. A savvy consumer - or just a reasonably rational parent - ought to wonder whether it,s realistic to think plopping a baby in front of a video screen can advance his or her intelligence.

"Be careful what you wish for" is another possible lesson, since, according to biographers, Albert Einstein enjoyed a normal childhood, "except that to his family's irritation, he learnt to speak at a late age."

But perhaps the most crucial lesson for parents is to remember that while babies don,t come with instructions, as oft noted at baby showers, we are blessed with a certain intuitive facility to care for them. And it turns out that the thing that comes most naturally - sitting on the floor, playing, singing and cooing - are the things that actually do advance the cognitive development of babies.

It might seem as though the Baby Einstein (and Baby Mozart and Baby Galileo) concept was meant to play into the competitive parenting instincts of those who would pay for videos today, Harvard tuition tomorrow.

According to Josh Golin of the CCFC, parents of lower socioeconomic strata have been equally vulnerable to the marketing tactics for baby videos on the fear that they don,t have what their babies need to be smart. "These videos have appealed to high-end consumers, yes, but also to lower-end consumers who simply want help," he says.

Sadly, those folks only wasted their hard-earned dollars. But at least now they can get some of that money back, better to spend it on strategies that work, such as Jen Singer,s "Stop Second-Guessing Yourself" guides to parenting.

Says Mrs. Singer, "The recent blow to the Disney Corporation may be the beginning of the end of 21st-century competitive parenting. Perhaps now parents will start to trust their guts more, thereby swinging the pendulum back toward more sensible, confident parenting."

Sensible and confidant parents understand that babies don,t need animated "video board books" such as Baby Einstein. They need the animated countenance of a loving mom or dad, vibrantly engaged in the delightful work of entertaining, exciting and enlightening their infants.

"There,s no big secret to helping our infants to grow and learn, but there,s no shortcut either," Mrs. Singer says. "You simply have to get down on the floor and play with them. But how hard is that?"

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2009, Marybeth Hicks