Probably hoping to go where Baby Einstein has gone before, the creators of Sesame Street plan to release a series of videos aimed a children as young as six months. This has drawn vociferous criticism from some child development experts who say no TV is suitable for the under-two set.To be called Sesame Beginnings, the series was developed by Sesame Workshop and Zero to Three, a well-regarded nonprofit advocacy group.
Among others, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against TV viewing for children under two. According to a story in the Associated Press, the group fears the Sesame brand and Zero to Three’s endorsement will convince many parents their infants would benefit from watching videos.
“There is no evidence that screen media is beneficial for babies and growing evidence it may be harmful,” says the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “Sesame Beginnings will encourage babies’ devotion to TV characters that have been licensed to promote hundreds of other products.”
Both the BBC’s Teletubbies and the Walt Disney’s acquisition of Baby Einstein have made both companies a lot of money, according to published reports.
A Sesame Street spokesman says the company is working cautiously: ‘We didn’t go into this in an impulsive way,” says Rosemarie Truglio, Sesame Workshop’s vice president of education and research. “We wanted to invite the parent into the viewing situation, to give the adult information about child development.”