Baby Einstein DVD's may not be all they're cracked to be. In fact, new research shows what we should have known all along--sitting your child in front of the TV is bad for his/her brain. Specifically,
the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."
The research was conducted by folks at the University of Washington--here is a link to a nice commentary on the study. In short, sitting your kids in front of the television will make them stupid. The content does not matter much. As a parent you are somewhat of a "sculptor" of your child's brain. Human interaction is the single most important drive in your child's development, followed by interaction with nature and physical activity.