Monday, September 12, 2011

Stink'in Spongebob Squarepants

I tell you what, I would happy if this show was taken off the air. It drives me crazy. Every time it comes on, I run over to the T.V. and shut it off. My eight-year-old is allowed to watch some Nickelodeon shows. If he leaves the T.V. on when he's finished watching, Spongebob always comes on. My two-year-old even recognizes Spongebob. Good Grief! I am going to print out this study for my 2nd grader to read.

FROM NBC: While Spongebob Squarepants has been known to give some parents a headache -- a new study suggests he may also be hurting kids' brains!! New research suggests the kind of shows preschoolers are watching may be just as detrimental as how much TV they see.

Dr. Michael Rich, Center on Media and Child Health, Children's Hospital Boston: "We shouldn't just assume that because they're being quiet and in the living room, that everything is ok."
the new study is a small one -- involving just 5 dozen 4-year-olds. Researchers randomly assigned the kids to one of three groups -- either play with crayons, watch the slow-paced PBS cartoon "Caillou" or watch Nickelodeon's fast-paced cartoon -- Spongebob Squarepants.

After doing one of these tasks for 9 minutes, the researchers assessed the kids' ability to focus and problem solve.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis - Seattle Children's Research Institute "The children who watched the fast-paced cartoon performed significantly worse." Experts say kids' developing brains don't have enough time to process fast-paced media.

Dr. Dimitri Christakis - Seattle Children's Research Institute "These children's brains were actually tired from all that stimulation and they weren't as able to then focus the way they otherwise would be able to."

Dr. Michael Rich, Center on Media and Child Health, Children's Hospital Boston: "If you are given more time to absorb a scene, to understand what goes on, you are able to interact with it, with your own questions and your own ideas."
SpongeBob is one of Nickelodeon's most popular shows, and is marketed to kids over age 6.

In a statement, a nickelodeon spokesman said: "Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show's targeted demo, watch 9 minutes of programming is questionable methodology." There's no evidence to suggest the short-term cognitive deficits found in this study translate into long-term problems. While Spongebob and his neighbors under the sea may not be the enemy -- experts say parents should remember kids' brains are like sponges -- soaking up everything they see. The typical preschooler watches 2 to 4 hours of television a day.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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