In a commercialized culture fraught with troubling trends, among the most pernicious is the all out effort to brand infants and toddlers. Baby paraphernalia is routinely festooned with licensed characters like Elmo and Winnie the Pooh-the same icons that will sell them toys, foods, and other products throughout childhood. Equally troubling is the escalation of "educational" baby media on the market-videos, software, and digital books-which get babies and toddlers dependent on screens and electronic gizmos for soothing and stimulation. There's no credible evidence that screen media is educational for babies, and some evidence that it may even be harmful.
What's at risk in the commercialization of babyhood is no less than infants' development of essential life skills-including capacities for creative play and self-soothing when stressed.
Did you know?
- 40% of 3-month-old babies are regular viewers of screen media
- The more babies engage with screens the less time they spend in creative play-the foundation of learning.
- For babies 8 to 16 months, watching baby videos is associated with slower language development.