Newsweek recently published an article about a study by the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute on the effects of videos such as Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby. Apparently, they're not as educational as advertised. In fact, the article says they may even be more harmful than beneficial.
This doesn't surprise me, as having a toddler, I have watched my share of Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the like. These supposedly educational shows may teach children the beauty of classical music, or how to sort 9 balloons evenly. However, the most frustrating aspect to me has always been that these shows do not teach any type of logic! The Einsteins ride in a rocket that propels them from Suburbia to Machu Picchu in .2 seconds, but they can't figure out how to get across a forest in time for a puppet show...and the rocket is following them!! Come on! As I'm cringing in frustration, I am stifling my urge to scream, "GET IN THAT D*MN SPACESHIP AND GO!" But alas, I have a toddler who is quickly picking up words. Or when Mickey is trying to get into *Mickey Park* and big bully Pete plops an arbitrary ticket window at the entrance (within direct view of Mickey & gang, mind you) and says he needs 5 coins to get in, Mickey pulls out and carefully counts 5 coins and hands them over, no questions asked. My questions - Why do you have to pay to get into MICKEY PARK??; and was that ticket window there 5 seconds ago?!? But I guess they need to fill 20 minutes.
Aside from the above disgruntlement, I don't believe that these shows are actually harming my 15-month-old. They may not be quite as educational as publicized, but I can overlook my own annoyances for his occasional enjoyment. My philosophy for pretty much every aspect of life is, "everything in moderation." If you're the type of parent whose idea of exercise for your children is getting up to get a soda at commercial breaks, you probably have bigger problems anyway. But Jack's 40 minutes of Playhouse Disney a day is probably not going to be the cause of him coming in second for that Nobel Laureate nomination.