Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby Einstein users - Disney offers you money back for being guillible parents

Baby Einstein is that horrible series of toys, videos, audio and other shite that promised that hot housing your children with their products would result in your little darlings being smarter, better children.

Well, surprise, surprise. It doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. It would be incredibly stupid to think sticking your child in front of the TV to watch anything would increase brainpower at such a young age.
Yet the number of parents who fell into this horrible little marketing ploy was scary. Including, I'm sure, some of the parents amongst my friends.

Well now Disney (who bought the company a while back) are offering refunds for those parents who feel that they were let down by the promises of instant genius offered by something that, let's face it, was no more than a babysitting via TV service.

There's lots of these things out there, promising better babies, smarter children if only you would spend a small fortune on whatever piece of plastic tat they're flogging. I remember the first time I saw those horrible VTech things in the shops - play laptops for kids wouldn't be bad if they were just play (a modern equivalent of dress up, tool-kits and doctors sets) but I detest the way these things always had to have some spurious educational value attached - giving the idea that just playing wasn't good enough anymore.
And heaven forbid we actually sit our children down in an empty space or with an empty page and just let them use their bloody imagination.

And don't get me started on the Leapfrog book system - "The number 1 learn to read system".
Excuse me. Hold on a moment, but isn't the number one learn to read system having parents who are engaged enough to read books to you, smart enough to have books in the house and a public library system that you use regularly to instil a love of reading in your child?
Or is that just me?
We read to Molly every single night. Every night. The only nights we miss out on it are when she's not actually here (we figure that's a fair excuse). We can't understand parents that don't. And the Leapfrog system just seems like a horrible admission of "we can't be bothered reading to you/with you".

So, back to Baby Einstein. I know tht the easy excuse is to say that you never expected these things to turn little Tarquin into a genius, but that's not the point is it?

All of these brain boosting things, these learn to read systems, they all seem designed by horrible corporations to prey on the fear of modern parents about their children just not being good enough.
But it's not the corporations fault. It's the parents fault. The parents who never had any of these things that suddenly seem so essential, the parents who were allowed to play out, to get dirty, to be children.
Thankfully both Louise and I agreed early on that the way to make Molly smarter had nothing to do with buying the latest faddy parenting solution, had nothing to do with stealing her childhood away and tutoring her from 6 months old like some parents seem to want to do, but had everything to do with being parents, being there, reading, talking, listening.

Simple really.

Or maybe we're wrong. maybe buying your child everything you can to steal away their playtime, to steal their relaxing time, to steal their childhood is the answer.
In which case you don't need to get the refund from Disney for those Baby Einstein dvds you bought, because you and the corporations that prey on your fear and insecurities deserve each other.

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