Babies get some infantainment

By Colin Mahan

May 12, 2006

Babies are finally shown what they have been missing, and now there is no turning back.

BabyFirstTV is a 24-hour channel devoted entirely to children who are 6 months to 3 years of age. The channel is available for a fee on DirecTV, and runs commercial-free.

The new channel is the latest in a growing trend of entertainment for children who are less than a year old. Sesame Workshops, creators of Sesame Street, recently released the Sesame Beginnings, a DVD series for babies that "simulates parent-child interaction." In the 1990s, Teletubbies was a pioneer in the field, introducing babies to TV with bizarre characters and repetitive songs and actions.

Critics say the new wave of "infantainment" is simply an exploitive attempt to make money.

"It's another facet of this whole commercialization of childhood where kids are seen as a market," David Elkind, professor of child development at Tufts University, told The Boston Herald.

The American Academy of Pediatricians has long stated that kids under 2 should not be exposed to TV.

On it's Website, the AAP says they "do not recommend television for children younger than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than one to two hours per day of quality screen time."

Other child-devlopment experts agree.

"The way young children learn is through interaction with people and with things, not from passive observing," said Sam Meisels, reknowned child-development expert from the Ericson Institute.

Dr. Edward McCabe, a pediatrician who sits on BabyFirstTV's advisory board, said he was reticent toward the idea in the beginning.

"I was skeptical when I first heard about it," McCabe told the Associated Press. "But I became convinced that this is a major evolution in media for kids."

McCabe is physician-in-chief at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital.

Three companies created BabyFirstTV: Regency Enterprises, a partner of Fox Entertainment; Kardan N.V, an investment group; and Bellco Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment fund.

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  • HCShannon Aug 16, 2007

    Just trying to make more money!

  • entity0 Feb 05, 2007

    Lazy? babies shouldnt watch t.v.? bad for their eyes? that in its self is stupid. sometimes people need to be entertained and moms have to tend to other duties such as laundry and dishes for about maybe 15 min. at a time. this is a nice relief to our backs so that the babies can enjoy a little exploring time. let them see different things different people, different colors shinig bright. and need i remind you all that we all grew up on sesame street so dont act so proud as to say that this is bad for babies cause im more than sure your own parents did the same with you or you wouldnt be here rating t.v. shows so fluently.

  • justinlover Jan 02, 2007

    This is bad for kids it makes them lazy

  • Taralen Jul 27, 2006

    Babies shouldn't watch TV it will ruin their eyes. Unless their parents want their kids to have bad eyesite.

  • Al-Gore May 18, 2006

    [This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

  • draphugs May 17, 2006

    All I can say is...STUPID!

  • Pinkmyst May 15, 2006

    Good to shut the kids up but I think it will be bad for them in the long run and too convieient for parents.

  • railley May 14, 2006

    yay another tool to help parents who cant (or cant be bothered) to bring up their kids for them.

    Heck its cheaper than a nanny and less paper work than giving them up for adoption.

  • lp_fan925 May 14, 2006

    I was actually watching this last night just to check it out, and i'm amazed how easily babies are entertained. When i turned it on, it was just an on-screen mobile, and then a hand painting a picture!

  • Angelwomyn May 14, 2006

    When I was a baby all I had to watch were mobiles. : )

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