New research appears to support the idea, at least in principle, of allowing children to indulge in television, especially against the backdrop of the explosive growth in streaming media, online games and mobile technology.
Recently, the University of Michigan found in a study that TV viewing among children is at an eight-year high. Children aren't the only culprits: the data also showed that more broadly, 51 percent of households have the TV on most of the time. Those trends that have only fueled BabyFirst TV's growth.
However, according to research from the Mayo Clinic, too much screen time for kids can actually lead to impaired academic performance as well as other adverse effects such as obesity, irregular sleep, behavioral problems and less time for play.
Since Rechter launched the network in 2006 with her co-founder, Guy Oranim, it's now in over 50 million homes in the U.S. distributed by major providers, including Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Networks and Time Warner Cable. BabyFirst's mobile application currently reaches 20 million to 30 million users, and the company offers content in both Spanish and English.
"Our programming is tailor made at BabyFirst for infants, toddlers and their parents," Rechter said. "We are there to hold mom and dad's hand in the first years and help them introduce their child to skills like math, vocabulary, art, but also questions like asking how and why do things work."
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Rechter cited a University of Wisconsin-Madison study that found positive learning outcomes of "Sesame Street" and maintained that it is possible for babies to learn valuable skills from television.
She insists that in order to be most effective, parents should use BabyFirst TV to engage with their children. The company reports that of its users, 90 percent watch BabyFirst TV with their infants.