Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gadgets for your baby: Just how good are they?

Do you believe in buying lots of gadgets (including electronic ones, with touch-screen monitors) for your baby? If someone comes allong peddling "Baby Einstein" (I have no idea what it is), saying it is good for your 10 month old child, would you buy it, thinking 'it may be useless, but it can't hurt"? If you answered 'yes' to these questions (or, even if you didn't ;-), this NYTimes report by Tamar Lewin is for you.

From pediatrician's sensible advice to crazy stuff that overenthusiastic parents buy for their children: this report has all these and more; in fact, it has too much! So, I won't even bother to summarize.

People's desire for the very best -- for their children, or even for themselves -- sometimes pushes them to extremes. They spend lots of time to weigh the pros and cons of all possible choices before selecting something that is just right. This usually happens true when people become parents, or worse, grandparents -- "I just want the very best pillow cover for my (child) grandchild!!" For such people (or, for such times), Barry Schwartz has some excellent advice in his commencement address to recent Swarthmore graduates. Schwartz is also the author The Paradox of Choice, an excellent book that has become a 'must read' in the literature on happiness.