Monday, September 12, 2011
SpongeBob SquarePants, 4 Year Olds and 'Attention Disorders'
Beware folks, SpongeBob SquarePants, the popular kids cartoon, has been studied by 'Adults' and they have found that watching the cartoon can be detrimental to the attention span of four year old children.
Many of the national newspapers are running with this particular story so I thought I'd offer some input - just to lighten the mood, you understand [**Impish grin**]
The study, which appears in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that 4 year olds perform worse when asked to follow rules or delay gratification than kids who spend time drawing or watching slower, educational programs.
ZOINKS! [Copyright, Shaggy - Scooby Doo]
"Jimmy, Nancy, come on, it's time for breakfast. There's Cheerios on the table and University Challenge on the TV"
I'm left wondering exactly how much a study like this cost and if it came from the School of the Blindingly Obvious.
These folk should come on over to my place and try and attract my attention when I'm watching a Shania Twain documentary... an earthquake wouldn't prise me away from the TV!
Poor old SpongeBob, it appears he can't do right for doing wrong. Back in 2005 US conservative groups slammed a music video featuring SpongeBob claiming the video, a remake of the Sister Sledge hit, "We Are Family" - was a vehicle for pro-gay propaganda!
Funny that, I always assumed Velma from Scooby Doo was a lesbian - Those pesky kids and their gossip, huh!
The 'short-term attention and learning problems' were seen in a study of 60 children randomly assigned to either watch “SpongeBob,” or the slower-paced PBS cartoon “Caillou” or who were assigned to draw pictures. After these nine-minute assignments, the kids took mental function tests; those who had watched “SpongeBob” did measurably worse than the others.
University of Virginia psychology professor Angeline Lillard, the lead author of the study, said “SpongeBob” shouldn't be singled out. She found similar problems in kids who watched other fast-paced cartoon programming.
As a child growing up I used to watch children's *programmes [*correct English spelling], that's what kids are supposed to do isn't it? My favourites included the American import, The Banana Splits, remember that? Fleegle, Drooper, Bingo and Snork. It is thought that children who watched this [male children] later developed penile dysfunction problems, otherwise known as Drooper syndrome. Female children developed gambling addiction, mainly Bingo addiction. Tra la la.
The Arabian Knights cartoon was also a favourite of mine, watching this would have dire consequences when I reached my mid-thirties as I became the size of an elephant.
Don't get me started on Rhubarb and Custard, watching that particular cartoon was like going on an acid trip!
Whilst I think children these days watch too much TV and play too many games consoles, the study from the University of Virginia could have been put together by the Janitor, who would later have been rumbled by Scooby, Daphne, Fred, Velma and Shaggy.
Let kids be kids, stop trying to get inside their heads with this psychobabble claptrap. Watching TV can be quite educational, especially for children. They don't need people in white coats analyzing them.
A great quote, amongst all the newspapers covering this story, came from Nickelodeon spokesman David Bittler, who disputed the findings and said "SpongeBob SquarePants is aimed at kids aged 6-11, not 4-year-olds."
Yup David, right on brother. You may want to ask the University of Virginia the same about attention disorder medication.
***The authors of the study, Angeline S. Lillard, PhD, and Jennifer Peterson, BA indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose. However, the University of Virginia, where their Department of Psychology is based, has received sponsorship research money in the past from Pfizer, $152,595 to be exact.***
About the Author :
Bob Fiddaman has been writing about the dangers of antidepressants since 2006. In 2011 he was presented with two human rights awards from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.