June 16, 2006 – The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is protesting a new subscription television channel that promises parents will "watch their baby blossom" if they plunk them in front of the television.
On June 13, CCFC filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about BabyFirstTV, the first channel directed entirely to children in the age group from infants to three years old. CCFC is urging the FTC to investigate unsubstantiated claims that watching the TV program is beneficial for babies.
The complaint is actually an amendment to one the organization filed last month against Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby, two producers of videos for infants and toddlers, for false and deceptive advertising and for allegedly violating consumer-protection laws. The FTC prohibits unfair and misleading advertising and bans companies from making claims that cannot be proven.
BabyFirst TV is available on DirectTV for $9.95 a month, and is broadcast 24 hours a day. The channel maintains that it is a "safe, positive and friendly resource" and offers an "engaging and educational experience" for babies. The channel further states that television can be an important factor for parent-baby bonding.
But the non-profit organization Zero to Three, which researches the needs of young children, released a report in May that found "there is not a robust body of research which conclusively answers" the impact of TV on children.
The American Association of Pediatricians recommends parents "avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years" to enable "healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills."