Friday, August 17, 2007

New book on baby's screen time

Don't get caught client Lisa Guernsey's new book Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five will be published September 10, but is already part of an interesting public relations debate. Researchers at the University of Washington last week published a study in The Journal of Pediatrics with data suggesting that infants who watch DVDs and videos will have smaller vocabularies. The chairman of Walt Disney Co., which publishes the popular "Baby Einstein" videos, demanded that the university retract not the research, but its news release. The university has refused to do so. In the meantime, Guernsey published an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, noting:
I’ve learned that it helps to consider what I call the three C’s: content, context and the individual child. Most video content is nearly meaningless to babies less than a year old. (Though there is some evidence that they can imitate on-screen actions, it isn’t until they reach 18 to 24 months that they really start to comprehend what they see.) What matters is context and the child’s developmental needs.
That's probably good advice for adults, too. Guernsey's op-ed is number seven today on the New York Times' "most e-mailed list," as the debate dovetails with the publication of her book.

Buy Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five

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