Mickey Mouse v. dawgs
Disney has a lot of nerve attacking the University of Washington's scholarly research into the benefits of baby videos, rather than trying...
Disney has a lot of nerve attacking the University of Washington's scholarly research into the benefits of baby videos, rather than trying to refute it with scholarly evidence.
Disney CEO Robert Iger demanded the UW retract a press release about a study suggesting the longer babies watched such videos, the fewer words they acquired compared with babies who don't watch them. The release mentioned brands, including Disney's "Baby Einstein" series — as did the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The press release, which garnered widespread media attention, opened: "Despite marketing claims, parents who want to give their infants a boost in learning language probably should limit the amount of time they expose their children to DVDs and videos such as 'Baby Einstein' and 'Brainy Baby.' "
It didn't say, "Don't buy." It said, "limit."
That's not unreasonable advice, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any TV viewing for children under 2 years old. Both the study and the press release are careful to suggest more research is necessary to determine specifically whether there is harm from these videos.
While Iger's impulse to defend his brand is understandable, the gratuitous attack on scholarly, peer-reviewed research is disappointing. After the UW said it was standing by the research and the news release, Disney posted an ominous statement on its Web site about pursuing "next steps."
Those steps ought to include research that proves the company's claims about the videos' benefit to young children.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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