A Baby Boom In Software

Ten-month-old Madison Sandoval has barely cut her teeth, but she's already on the cutting edge of technology, using computer software designed for babies, CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes reports.

As Madison watched a dancing bear on a computer screen, her mother, Kimberly Sandoval, remarked, "She loves the music. Usually she'll start bouncing up and down."

Five years ago, kiddie computer programs barely existed. But today sales are booming. Parents snatched up $46 million worth of software for kids aged four and under last year alone.

For the first time ever, Web sites are catering to six-month-olds.

Programmers are so anxious to tap into this new market that they study a baby's every move in front of the computer at Knowledge Adventure, a southern California company, maker of the "Jump Start Baby" software.

"The earlier that we can introduce any device, whether it's a computer, or a TV set or a bicycle, I think the more comfortable a child will be with that device," said Peter Doctorow, a baby software maker.

But how young is too young? While it's important for kids to learn computer skills, critics say it's just common sense that babies can't learn as much from the virtual world as they can from the real one.

"To sit on the kitchen floor and bang on pots with a wooden spoon, it's so important to get actual reality and actual experiences with the real world," said author Jean Armour Polly.

But try telling that to anxious parents who worry that in this high-tech age, no age is too young to start on a computer.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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