Baby isn't Einstein: Stay away from kids' videos, TV due to autism concerns


I distinctly remember how cowed I felt when I visited the house of another family from my birthing class. It was my first child, and the classmates from our birth preparation series were all we could see of our "peers" as new parents. We had oneBaby Einstein video. They had the entire Costco-packaged series! How could we ever compete!

Somehow, we managed to compete on the television viewing playing field, but now it turns out our friends' well-meaning "investment" in $100 or so of baby videos may have been a stunningly bad one. Slate reports that baby television and videos? Might cause autism. (Related: we're having behavioral issues with our oldest son that are pretty major.) (Also related: we just cancelled cable two months ago.)

The aha! moment came when researchers (and separately, the Slate reporter) realized that autism rates began increasing at about the same time VCRs and cable television started becoming common in homes. The problem is in the two-dimensional stimuli; too much, and the brain, craving three-dimensional stimuli, goes off on a wrong course.