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Keywords:

  • language development;
  • infant media;
  • content analysis;
  • language strategies

Abstract

The number of videos produced specifically for infants and toddlers has grown exponentially in the last decade. Many of these products make educational claims regarding young children's language development. This study explores infant media producer claims regarding language development, and the extent to which these claims reflect different distributions of strategies known to promote young children's language development in live contexts. A content analysis of 58 DVDs for children under the age of three years was conducted. Claims related to language development and general knowledge information were identified from packaging and promotional materials. Video content was examined scene-by-scene for language-promoting strategies. Finally, scene-level content matching the specific language or general knowledge claims was ‘tagged’. Videos with more explicit language claims had a significantly higher percentage of scenes with language content and language-promoting strategies than those without such claims. Verbal labels of onscreen referents were common across videos. Onscreen print significantly co-occurred with language claims, which was surprising given that infants were the target audience and they cannot read. Production techniques that are likely to increase orientation to important language content, such as sound effects, and audience elicitation, significantly co-occurred with language content, but point/give objects or follow gaze teaching strategies and vocabulary definitions were only infrequently used. Implications for the creation of developmentally appropriate videos for infants and toddlers are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.