Is Electronic Media Making Smarter Babies? Editor’s Note: If you keep up with technology, you’ve probably heard about BabyFirst, a new TV program for infants. If you haven’t you can check out the following article from the public relations firm representing BabyFirst. Our grandparent readers put safety first when it comes to their grand kids. Could exposing an infant for long periods of time to a computer screen be unsafe? There are those who think it is and there are those who think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. We must look into this carefully and prepared for this type of electronic media explosion…or as some folks refer to it… exploitation. In the upcoming weeks, GRAND will publish more information on this topic. Meanwhile, we’d love to know what you think….email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We live in an increasingly technological world, in which seemingly every person of every age is constantly using an iPad or smartphone, not to mention television or a personal computer. Even grade school kids are connected to every form of device available and there is a huge variety of media at their disposal — apps, videos, music, books. But what about babies and toddlers? Is there such a thing as too young? And what of the content? Is it important that electronic media for this age group be educational or is there a place for it to be an “electronic baby sitter?”
Clearly, we are raising a generation that loves video displays and computer-based devices even more than we do. According to a 2009 survey from Child Trends Data Bank, 93% of children from age three to 17 had access to the Internet in their homes. Last October, Common Sense Media reported that 52% of kids under eight had access to mobile devices at home including smartphones, iPods, iPads and other tablets. And a 2010 study from the NDP Group indicated that 91% of children between two and 17 played video games. As for television viewing, A.C. Nielsen statistics revealed that toddlers between two and five watch over 32 hours of TV a week, with viewing in the age group between two and 11 the highest since 1995.
Some companies see these trends as compelling reasons to create and deliver content for infants and toddlers — what they consider to be an overlooked and underserved demographic. Among them is BabyFirst, the 24/7 cable channel dedicated to providing innovative programming designed to enhance learning and development among infants and toddlers. Rather than the mindless entertainment that serves as a de facto babysitter, BabyFirst’s wide variety of quality programming has been developed under the guidance of pediatricians and child development experts. Since its inception, BabyFirst has grown in popularity and is available in over 35 million homes today. It is also available globally in more than 35 countries, including Canada, Mexico, the UK, Puerto Rico, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In addition to its television operations, BabyFirst is at the forefront of providing educational material across a variety of platforms designed to aid in the development of very young minds. Included are interactive apps for iPads and other tablets, plus videos, books and games.
Sharon Rechter is the co-founder of BabyFirst. She is the mother of two young children, Sharon helped develop the channel as a labor of love in 2006. As a working mother, she has first-hand experience with the challenges all parents of youngsters face and has effectively applied what she has learned working in children’s media to her own personal life.
You can learn more at www.babyfirsttv.com.