Your Baby Can Read, the program that promised to teach infants to read using flashcards and DVDs, has gone out of business. It's the latest development in a tumultuous couple of years.
NBC reporter Jeff Rossen investigated the program back in 2010, questioning leading experts and professors, all of whom called the results shown in the program's infomercials "misleading" and a "manipulation of facts." The guy who ran the program, Dr. Robert Titzer, actually went on TV and said, "I'm not a traditional expert as far as reading…" Whoops.
Last year, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) filed a complaint with the FTC, accusing Your Baby Can Read of making "false and misleading claims" designed to "take advantage of parents' natural desire to
provide every possible advantage for their young children."
Moreover, YBC's recommendations for using the product fly in the face of the American Academy of Pediatrics ("AAP") and White House Task force on Childhood Obesity's recommendations of no "television and video" and no "television" for children under age two and research suggesting that watching videos at such a young age may negatively affect a child's development.
Today, the CCFC considers the Your Baby Can Read shutdown a victory, stating:
Research links infant screen time to sleep disturbances, attention problems, and delayed language acquisition, as well as problems in later childhood such as poor school performance and childhood obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics, and other public health organizations, recommend no screen time for infants and toddlers. But if parents followed Your Baby Can Read!'s viewing instructions, their baby would have watched more than 200 hours by the age of nine months.
As of right now, there are still some Your Baby Can Read DVD sets in stock and available for sale on Amazon. The folks at the company deny the allegations, but say they are broke, according to a statement on the company website:
For more than 6 years, Your Baby Can Read! has been enjoyed and appreciated by families world-wide as an innovative reading concept for babies and young children.
Regretfully, the cost of fighting recent legal issues has left us with no option but to cease business operations. While we vehemently deny any wrongdoing, and strongly believe in our products, the fight has drained our resources to the point where we can no longer continue operating.
Parents trying to give their kids a head start, be advised: Hooked on Phonics is still in business.