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Watching Special Videos May Not Make Kids Brainier
Date:3/1/2010

Real-life interaction is more apt to enhance verbal skills, experts say,,

MONDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Well-intentioned parents who prop their infants in front of supposedly brain-enhancing DVDs in the hopes they will learn more words might actually be accomplishing nothing, new research shows.

What's more, the study found that children who started viewing the DVDs at an earlier age actually had lower levels of overall language achievement.

"Kids this age are basically little scientists exploring the world, figuring out how it works," said Dr. Jeffrey Brosco, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "They walk around stuff to see what it looks like on the other side. They drop something to see what happens. They're active learners so you would think that a video that doesn't really promote active learning or social engagement would probably not promote language acquisition."

Rahil Briggs, director of Healthy Steps at Children's Hospital at Montefiore and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, added that, with such DVDs, "there might be a little bit of science and a whole lot of marketing."

Lack of social interaction while watching a TV screen might be the main explanation for the lack of progress that the researchers found.

"We've known for a long time that live social interaction is very important for how children learn -- things like interacting with parents, a teacher or even an older sibling," said Rebekah A. Richert, lead author of the study, which is scheduled to be published in the May print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. "Our study suggests that a TV screen and people on a TV screen can't replace that live interaction."

Dozens of so-called educational DVDs and videos are marketed to parents. According to the study, infants start watching this
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