Spongebob, sponge-brain

17 09 2011

I’ll start by declaring my inbuilt bias up-front. I have never been a fan of SpongeBob Squarepants. To me it seem like the height of laziness to have a cartoon character who was essentially a cube. I am much more of a Warner Brothers person, if I have to pick a cartoon genre.

So the latest news that SpongeBob was bad for kids’ brains fell on a receptive mind.

So to give you the background, a study published in Pediatrics, have found that watching SpongeBob Squarepants turns preschoolers’ brains to mush. Their attention span drops, as compared to say, children watching another type of cartoon.

The study randomly divided a fairly narrowly selected group of 4 year old children into three groups who then were shown either 90 minutes of SpongeBob, 90 minutes of a more realistic cartoon about a child, or told to draw pictures.

Afterwards their ability to “stay on task” was measured. Those who had been drawing or watching the realistic cartoon scored about the same. Those who watched SpongeBob scored significantly worse.

Nickelodeon’s response is that the cartoon is designed of 6 to 9 year olds, not 4 year olds. Kinda misses the mark I think, as we all know the little kids want to do what the older kids do, and all children are attracted to shiny objects, fast action visuals and noises.

The study concludes that it is not just how much TV children watch, but also what they watch that can be detrimental. Yes, yes, but just turn the d@#n thing off.

The next step is to see how long the effects last for.

For more information see here.

If you liked this post, you might also like The Impact of Marshmallows on the DS generation.