More than one study, however, has reported that this type of media can hamper vocabulary development. After research from the University of Washington found that the DVDs did, indeed, hinder new-word acquisition, one of the creators of the Baby Einstein series filed suit against the university, alleging that it had failed to respond to requests for public records.
The new study involved 96 infants, between 12 and 25 months old. Half were assigned to watch the Baby Wordsworth DVD (one of the Baby Einstein series) at home five times in every two-week period over a total of six weeks.
Children were tested in a lab every other week to see if they were learning the words highlighted in the DVD. Parents or caregivers also reported on the children's progress.
The researchers found that the video did not enhance language acquisition, nor did it hamper it. But the earlier a toddler started watching the videos, the lower the child's overall language development, the researchers found, though they added that this could have been related to other characteristics in the child's home.
"This doesn't tell you very much because the sort of family that turns on a video player for a 1-month-old may not talk much to their kids anyway," Brosco said.
"There are lots of reasons why that could be," added Richert, who is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. "We ask that parents think about why they're showing children DVDs at young ages."
Overall, though, interaction with actual human beings seems to be the key learning tool for young kids.
"Social interaction seems to be most important to kids in the first few years of life," explained Brosco, who is a father of four. And Briggs agreed.
"We know that from the first days of infancy through the toddler and early childhood years, so
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