Children, DVDs, and Screen Time

in Everyday Learning

I wonder… how do parents avoid commercials and store ads that promise them educational DVDs will increase their child’s early language learning. Parents are encouraged to show their little ones these DVDs from infancy on.

In Baby Wordsworth Babies: Not Exactly Wordy, Alice Park reports on research conducted at the University of California at Riverside, the most definitive study to date on whether or not using DVDs increases young children’s early language development. The vocabulary growth of 96 babies was evaluated for six weeks.

Results: Videos do not increase a child’s word-learning. “Turns out, the videos didn’t work. In fact, infants who watch educational DVD’s learn fewer words than kids who haven’t watched the videos.”

The DVD is never a substitute for a parent’s time and tender care. Parents talking to their babies, playing with trucks and dolls, and making toy sounds is the critical ingredient for their child’s language learning. There is no replacement for social interaction.

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