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Genius Babies. By: Megan Sironen EDU 234 July 3, 2012. General Overview. Videos for parents to start showing to their children around 2 months old Shorter in length then most children’s videos Almost no spoken language during the show

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Genius babies

Genius Babies

By: Megan Sironen

EDU 234

July 3, 2012

General overview
General Overview

  • Videos for parents to start showing to their children around 2 months old

  • Shorter in length then most children’s videos

  • Almost no spoken language during the show

  • Languages introduced: French, German, Hebrew, Russian, English and more

  • Introduces colors, music, numbers, letters, basic words

How it all started
How It All Started

  • Started by a stay-at-home mom named, Julie Aigner-Clark in 1996.

  • She wanted to get her daughters into art and music and couldn’t find anything that she felt was developmentally appropriate for them

  • She started with a single video made at home with her two daughters and husband.

  • By 2000, the franchise was worth $10 million

  • In 2001, Disney bought the Baby Einstein series

  • In 2005, Disney started the line of toys and clothing to accompany the video series

  • In 2007, Baby Einstein was named in the State of the Union Address by President Bush

Initial pediatric studies
Initial Pediatric Studies

  • In 2007, Journal of Pediatrics came out with their findings on the “Baby Genius” program

  • Drs. Frederick Zimmerman, Dimitri Christakis, and Andrew Meltzoff did a study with parents to find out how their children from 2-24 months testing in areas including language, music, art, reading, and math.

  • The studies found no significant change in development from those children that were not on the program

  • The doctors came out with statements telling parents that the effects are not enough to help nor hinder a child’s development.

The studies results
The Studies Results

  • Babies who spent more time watching TV had lower language and visual motor skills at age 3

  • The more time children spend in front of the TV as babies they “learn to watch TV” and as they get older they will watch more TV and snack in front of the TV and it becomes a conjunction problem

  • Infants that spend even just one hour a day in front of the TV have a 65% chance of being over weight as adolescents

The impact from the studies
The Impact from the Studies

  • In 2007, Disney started to question the studies done by the University studies.

  • In 2008, Children’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard University came out with their statement about the programs, stating that “neither beneficial nor deleterious to child cognitive and language abilities”

  • In 2009, Disney offered full refunds for any family that has purchased the “Baby Einstein” videos since Disney had taken control over it.

  • In 2010, Julie Clark asked a judge for access to University of Wahington’s raw data so they could compile a study of her own to duplicate or disprove the original study.

The pros
The Pros

  • Colorful images

  • Introduces many different languages to children when language is developing

  • Holds most infants attention

  • Introduces letters

  • Introduces sounds

The cons
The Cons

  • Many parts have unrelated pictures and speech

  • Languages are not explained, so they become confusing

  • Slow to explain

  • Disconnected for children without parent interaction for explanation

Recommendations from pediatricians
Recommendations from Pediatricians

  • Pediatricians say to use blocks, puzzles, and books to teach

  • Spend “face time”: which means that you are spending more time one on one with your children then they are spending in front of the TV or computer

  • “It’s a tried and true way of teaching your children, get them outside and spending time with friends”

  • Learn to make time for your children and even if you, as a parent, are allowing TV time, use it with your children and teach them using it

  • Don’t allow your children to just sit in front of the TV

Positive parental review
Positive Parental Review

  • “My son of 18 months has been watching these videos since he was 2 months old. At that young age, the music kept him content. We have the entire series and he has enjoyed every video. Now that he's a little older he especially likes the Shakespeare and Van Gogh videos. He laughs at the puppets and enjoys watching the children in the videos. These two videos are especially colorful and artistic. We recently purchased the newest Baby Dolittle video and found our last trip to the zoo to be even more enjoyable as he pointed out animals he recognized from the video.”

Negative parental review
Negative Parental Review

  • “I will be honest. Our son loves Baby Mozart, Baby Bach, and Baby Shakespeare. The music on them is delightful and the videography is great. The toys and objects are shot in such a way that they get a baby's and toddler's attention. But, I find that they are not as mesmerizing as the Barney, Elmo, etc. TV stuff is. Now, for Baby Einstein. The concept is good, but in execution, it didn't work for our son. Listening to moms speak in a dozen languages bored our son. And the videography is not well done, so the images don't get a child's attention. This was the first tape in the series; the others are far better. We ended up consigning this tape. But, I am about to buy the new Baby Van Gogh, so I really do like the products from this company--just not this particular tape.”


  • Many researchers are saying that these programs are just a “get rich quick scheme”

  • They tell parents that their children are “stupid” and they can put the children right to the top of the class

  • This business is a $17 billion marketing scheme for the TV companies

Tv free world
TV Free World

  • Parents should not being using the TV to babysit their children and this program is based in video watching

  • Making sure children have interaction is what children at that age need most

  • American Academy of Pediatrics states that children under the age of 2 should not have any time in front of the TV

  • Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, study shows that for every 1 hour of TV time per day for children in preschool, that the chances of being diagnosed with Attention Disorders goes up by 10% by the age of 7

My review
My Review

  • Looking through the parent reviews it does seem that many parents are very happy with the outcome from the Baby Genius programs

  • Parents, however, did seem like they were using it as a babysitter and using it for their children to sit and watch versus using it in conjunction

  • Despite all the research done by doctors and students, parents are still looking at this as though it really is a “quick fix” to make their children instantly smarter


  • Korallus-Shapiro, Anne L. "Baby Geniuses." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 June 2010. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • "Baby's Learning - Information on" MedicineNet. Ed. Gary Vogin. WebMD, 10 Oct. 2001.

    Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • Lewin, Tamar. "No Einstein In Your Crib? Get a Refund." The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Oct. 2009. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • Frisbie, Danelle. "Peaceful Parenting: Your Baby's Genius NOT Due to Baby Einstein.“

    Peaceful Parenting: Your Baby's Genius NOT Due to Baby Einstein., 2 Feb. 2010. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • Park, Madison. "Serendipity Hopeful." Serendipity Hopeful. CNN, 5 Mar. 2005. Web. 01 July 2012. < and-cons/>.

  • Mirpuri, Dipika. "Review Of Baby Einstein Language Nursery DVD." Toys. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • "Baby Einstein." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 June 2012. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • Hoecker, Jay L. "Infant and Toddler Health." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Apr. 2011. Web. 01 July 2012. < einstein/AN01990/>.

  • Guernsey, Lisa. "OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR; The Genius of 'Baby Einstein'" The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Aug. 2007. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.

  • Boodman, Sandra G. "Wishful Thinking." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 09 Oct. 2007. Web. 01 July 2012. <>.