Anyone can tell you that "SpongeBob SquarePants" is an amazing, wildly popular cartoon totally worthy of your attention. But is it actually worth sacrificing kids’ attention spans?
A study that ran today in Pediatrics details a UVA study that found the popular, hilarious Nickelodeon show "SpongeBob Squarepants" has measurably detrimental effects on the attention spans of 4-year-olds. It causes "learning problems," the Associated Press reports.
For the UVA study two groups of kids were plopped before TVs, one watching "SpongeBob" and other watching the PBS show "Caillou," which—wow, I just watched some, and it’s totally boring.
Kids who watched "SpongeBob" performed worse on mental function tests after than their "Caillou" counterparts, which suggests the effects of TV watching aren’t just long-term; it means, "more immediate problems can occur after very little exposure."
All that means it’s not just how much kids are watching, but also what they’re watching, that affects learning. Read more here.
You can notice a change in the pace of cartoons from their earliest days, when Bugs Bunny would riff on high art, to when I was a kid, watching Arnold and Helga having a quiet time in their neighborhood, to now, when someone being in front of the TV is simply overwhelming.
SpongeBob is not afraid.