Burnt Orange Baby

From today’s Daily Texan:

‘Baby Longhorn’ effectivness under debate

In January 2005, the Houston-based company Team Baby Entertainment released “Baby Longhorn,” a 35-minute DVD that introduces infants and toddlers to UT sports, traditions and bleeding orange. With the goal of “raising tomorrow’s fan today,” Team Baby Entertainment has since expanded its coverage to 19 other universities, each aimed to introduce a child to the sports, rivalries, traditions and attractions of that university.

Infants and toddlers between 5 and 6 months to 4 years of age are the target audience, said Greg Scheinman, Team Baby Entertainment founder and chief executive officer. However, the use of media and television as channels of education for young children is an ongoing debate. The effectiveness of educational programming or even exposure to television at all is contentious in the medical and scientific fields.

Videos will help stimulate and keep children interested, but [the product] is exaggerated if it claims to increase IQ,” said Leslie Cohen, a UT psychology professor.

The company’s goal is to attract the parent’s attention by involving their alma mater in these DVDs in hopes that it will encourage them to spend quality time with their children. Although the film has educational elements that teach numbers, shapes, school-specific colors and spelling of the mascot, it is not branded as an educational product, Scheinman said.

“At the core, we’re an entertainment product for kids to interact with parents,” he said.

At this point, it remains to be seen if the videos for babies are healthy or harmful, said UT human ecology professor Aletha Huston.

“My real concern is exposure to television interferes with other cognitive processes and social interaction,” said Huston.

Uh, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Isn’t there such thing as too far? I mean, I understand branding and everything but I don’t think it’s healthy to indoctrinate kids like this (she says while wearing her new Tarheels shirt)- you should show them that there’s a whole world of educational experiences out there and you shouldn’t set them up like “YOU WILL GO TO UT”. I was raised to love UT, sure, but my dad went there, my good memories are based on actual experience and my dislike of the school is a weird case. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea to set them up like that. What if they don’t get in?

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