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Everyone knows of the yellow sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. “SpongeBob Squarepants” has had a high rating show on Nickelodeon for several years, entrancing children and parents alike. Viewers love the fast-paced dialogue, the funny characters and the “krabby patties.” However, it turns out that SpongeBob’s effective banter could be detrimental to its younger viewers.
In a recent article by Fox News, a study was done with 60 children who were around four-years-old. They watched a nine-minute clip of SpongeBob as opposed to a calm, slow program on PBS such as “Caillou” or a relaxing activity. Afterwards, the children did tests that study their mental functioning. Obviously, the children who watched SpongeBob did considerably worse.
This study could have several flaws; however, it doesn’t dispute the fact that Spongebob has an attention problem himself. If you have ever watched SpongeBob before, you can tell within 5 minutes that this sponge has some problems focusing.
It could be the writing or it could be the camera angles, but this show is extremely hard to focus on. David Bittler, Nickelodeon spokesman, claims that this show is aimed for children between 6-11 years old, not 4. However, this doesn’t mean that parents will not put on this show for their kids to watch.
At first glance, it looks harmful. Nevertheless, Spongebob Squarepants is doing more harm than good for children who are still developing mentally. SpongeBob Squarepants is just an example of a much larger problem with our media programs aimed toward children. Kids are being exposed more and more everyday to high paced programming that is affecting their ability to learn and focus in school and in social situations.
Psychology professor, Angeline Lillard, of University of Virginia said, “I wouldn’t advise watching such shows on the way to school or any time they’re expected to pay attention and learn.” For example, when your kindergartener watches SpongeBob Squarepants in the morning and on the ride to school, they could have severe difficulties in the long run with focusing.
The point here is that before parents decide that a show is acceptable just because it entertains their children need to do their homework. Don’t let SpongeBob’s infectious laugh fool you. Parents will not be laughing when their children pay the price for watching obnoxiously fast and high-strung programs.