'Sesame Beginnings': What do you think?
I caught a bit of NPR's Talk of the Nation last Monday, "'Sesame Beginnings' Target Baby TV Viewers." The show featured the VP of education and research for Sesame Workshop. She said that the Kaiser Family Foundation studied the effects on media on children ages zero to six (I very much dislike using the term "age zero", but whatever. The study *pdf here.) and the study showed that babies ages "zero" to two were watching programming like Sesame Street, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics Media Guidelines recommend no screen time for children under 2. Sesame Workshop, bright folks they are, said, "Well, wait a minute. Sesame Street is made for preschoolers, not for infants. Let's come up with something more age-appropriate for the babies!" Sesame Beginnings was born. On the show, the VP from Sesame Workshop kept emphasizing that the dvd was created for families, with babies younger than 24 months old.
Critics say that some studies show slow language and cognitive development when babies under 2 are exposed to media. I'm aware of the AAP media guideline (no screen time for under 2 set), but I'll admit we've done it both ways. One of our daughters watched a whole lot of stuff from age 6 months or so. I'm not too worried about her congitive development, as she's under 6 and doing stuff like reading, multiplying, and crocheting. Our other daughter watches very little of anything at she's 2-1/2. Whatever. "On Demand" Sesame Street is pretty spiffy when they're wound up and I need to get something on the stove.
All in all, I just feel a bit betrayed by Sesame Workshop. I feel like Baby Einstein (now owned by Disney) can take care of all the baby-targeted video stuff. One of our girls loved the first of the Baby Einsteins. The animated Disney stuff, however, she didn't care for. Sesame Workshop produces Sesame Street, for my preschooler. Not baby-programming. It just seems a little much, like they want to get a piece of the disney Baby Einstein market.
I'm curious to hear what you think. Do you think you'll buy a Sesame Beginnings dvd? Do you think you'll boycott? Also, more conversation about Sesame Beginnings at Blogging Baby: Experts Slam new Sesame Street DVD for the under 2 set.
(Btw, Kirsten, was that you who called in?! In support of programming for the younger set and sharing your experience of teaching your little one to sign through use of video? Fun to hear an urbanMama on the air!)