prole Posted October 27, 2009 Share Posted October 27, 2009 The parents not so much... October 27, 2009 Disney offers refund after furore over Baby Einstein DVDs Chris Ayres in Los Angeles Millions of American parents who bought Disney educational DVDs in the hope that they would supercharge their children’s brains are being offered a refund amid claims by researchers that watching any kind of television may be harmful to the under-twos. Disney continues to defend its bestselling Baby Einstein DVD range but is now offering money back on up to four DVDs returned per US household. The move comes after a parents’ group threatened to sue the company. Critics are now demanding that Disney should offer a similar deal in the UK, where Baby Einstein’s Baby Mozart Music Festival is the topselling DVD in Amazon’s Childcare & Parenting section. Launched in 1997, Baby Einstein DVDs quickly became a marketing sensation. Parents could suddenly congratulate themselves on exposing their little ones to everything from classical music to Romantic poetry. When it was first released, the packaging of one Baby Einstein DVD, entitled Baby Wordsworth, designed for children as young as 1, advised parents that it could “foster the development of your toddler’s speech and language skills”. Many academics took the opposite view. One study, published by The Journal of Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, concluded that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs, infants understood on average six to eight fewer words than children who did not watch television. One researcher, Dimitri Christakis, concluded that “the evidence is mounting that [baby-targeted DVDs] are of no value and may in fact be harmful”. It is thought that Disney generates about $200million (£125million) a year in sales from its Baby Einstein division, which it acquired in 2001. Criticism of Baby Einstein has become vocal, however, largely thanks to an organisation in Boston called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). “Parents need honest information,” said Susan Linn, the co-founder of the CCFC, when she filed a complaint in 2006 with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that Disney was engaging in “false and deceptive advertising” through its Baby Einstein packaging. Although the FTC brought no action against it, Disney toned down its marketing. Then came its offer of a refund, amid talk of the CCFC preparing a class-action lawsuit. On the Baby Einstein website yesterday, Susan McLain, the general manager, accused the CCFC of seeking to “twist and spin a simple customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt”. -- The Times 10/27/09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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