October 2, 2007

Put'em Together And What Have You Got? Block Study Sponsor Is A Disney Licensee

megabloks_disney.jpg

This just in from the Circle of Life Department: From his research linking Baby Einstein videos [by name] to decreased vocabulary development in toddlers to his earlier findings of a link between toddler TV-watching and ADHD, to his book, The Elephant In The Living Room, co-authored with his colleague Dr. Frederick Zimmerman, Dr. Dimitri Christakis is probably the Baby Entertainment Industrial Complex's worst scientific nightmare.

So much so that Disney CEO Bob Iger fires off angry takedown notices to the University of Washington, complaining about the treatment Baby Einstein got [but noticeably not countering with any actual scientific refutation of the Zimmerman/Christakis et al findings.]

And now Dr. Christakis has published a study showing that it's blocks, not DVD's, that may improve vocabulary development.

And that study was commissioned by Mega Bloks, a Canadian toymaker.

Which happens to be a major Disney licensee. With four pages of Disney character-themed blocks and playsets for 0-3 yo's alone, and dozens more for 3-5 and 5+.

If only the block sets used in the study had been Disney, the loop would have been complete. [I checked. They weren't.] Still, it's enough to turn cognitive development research into a combative bloodsport at least compelling enough for ESPN3. [which is, of course, owned by Disney.]

I think we all learned an important lesson today: never bet against The Mouse.

Mega Brands corporate site [megabloks.com]

3 Comments

Now that's investigative journalism! I'm thinking Pulitzer, I'm thinking ... well I can't think of any other journalism prizes.
The Mouse will inherit the earth. Resistance is futile.
And to think, it all started with a young Walt D. doing peyote in the desert (ok, that's just a rumor I heard on my Pink Jeep tour in Sedona AZ).

[yeah, mostly I just checked out their website, but thanks. -ed.]

Hey, there's no ESPN3...

[can you do something about that? -ed.]

I'm confused... was anyone ever honestly doubting that blocks were better for child development than DVD's (baby Einstein or otherwise)... I mean isn't that a given?

Blocks help in all areas of development (physical, cognitive, language, sensory and social/emotional). The provide for both fine and gross motor skills, they are a great source and outlet for imagination, the encourage communication, they are used often with disabled children and they are a wonderful toy to aid in social interaction.

A DVD can only provide so much entertainment... but there's really not much there.

[I've gotta imagine if you're a blockmaker, and the whole DVD industry--not to mention the beeping/electronic/interactive toy industry--is beating the educational/hi-tech drum long enough, it'd get on your nerves and hit your sales. And then you'd hire the screen/button peoples' biggest critic to show'em who's boss. Or so I imagine. -ed.]

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