Remember the Baby Einstein fiasco in recent news?
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: Baby Einstein co-founders William and Julie Aigner-Clark were surely bummed when, due to the threat of a class-action lawsuit, Disney (the present owners of the brand) issued tons of refunds to parents who bought the DVDs.
The suit cited studies conducted by the University of Washington that linked children under two who watch TV with attention problems and prolonged language development, and thus claiming Baby Einstein products were, in essence, making fraudulent claims to make kids smarter.
In response, an article in the New York Times features this quote from Aigner-Clark: "I'm proud of what I made. Welcome to the 21st century. Most people have televisions in their houses, and most babies are exposed to it. And most people would agree that a child is better off listening to Beethoven while watching images of a puppet than seeing any reality show that I can think of."
"All we're asking for is the basis for what the university has represented to be groundbreaking research," said her husband William Clark. "Given that other research studies have not shown the same outcomes, we would like the raw data and analytical methods from the Washington studies so we can audit their methodology, and perhaps duplicate the studies, to see if the outcomes are the same."
According to the article, Mr. Clark claims he's been looking to do this for years, but his requests were blown off.
"On the 2007 study, the complaint said, the university sent incomplete data, redacted so as to make re-analysis impossible."
Hey, I knew full well about those studies that said children have no business watching TV until they're two, but I bought the DVDs anyway. And you know what? My kids didn't watch them all day, every day -- just once in a while. And I don't think they affected my kids negatively one way or the other.
Did any of you guys seek refunds? And if so, are you pissed off at Baby Einstein?
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|