28/10/2009 04:52 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Parents Offered Refunds On Baby Einstein DVDs That May Do "More Harm Than Good"

Millions of parents who bought Baby Einstein educational DVDs are being offered refunds after claims they may actually harm development.

Disney has been threatened with legal action in the USA and has now agreed to refund or exchange DVDs.

However the pledge only applies to the USA and campaigners are calling for similar treatment for UK parents.

Parents bought these DVDs believing they would improve their toddlers' IQs, but some studies have concluded they may do more harm than good.

This sounds like a bit of a lesson for people who think they can educate their children by sticking them in front of the television instead of reading or talking to them.

The Daily Mail quotes one study found children who watched educational DVDs between the ages of seven months and 16 months knew fewer words and phrases than those who didn't.

For every hour the toddlers watched, they had six fewer words in their vocabulary.

Pippa Smith, founder of lobby group Mediamarch, told the Daily Mail: "Anybody who has these videos in the UK should be given equal treatment and be able to demand a refund too.

"Parents are given the idea that these DVDs are educational but there is evidence to show that screenbased activity is bad for the brain."

Disney stopped using the word "educational" in its Baby Einstein marketing in 2006.

A law-suit was brought in the USA by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Susan Linn, a psychologist and director of the campaign, told the Daily Mail they believed the decision to refund parents was "an acknowledgement that the baby videos are not educational."

However Susan McLain, of the Baby Einstein Company, a Disney subsidiary, said the willingness to offer refunds to unhappy customers showed the "strongest possible confidence" in the product.

For more information about whether television damages toddlers' development, click here to read this article I wrote yesterday.

Personally I don't think a bit of television is going to do kids much harm but if you think toddlers will receive much education from a DVD, you're probably kidding yourself. What do you think?

Source: Daily Mail