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View Full Version : Study: SpongeBob SquarePants "bad for kids?"


deoxys121
September 12th, 2011, 07:56 PM
The latest study finds that watching just nine minutes of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.
Source (http://www.kcci.com/r/29156128/detail.html)

I saw this just now on the news. Apparently, a study was conducted that showed that SpongeBob was shown to cause short-term attention and learning problems in children compared to children who watched educational children's programs, such as Dora the Explorer. The justification was that SpongeBob is more fast-paced, constantly switching frames, and is intended strictly for entertainment purposes.

Nickelodeon argued several things: SpongeBob is intended for children ages 6 and up, whereas the study was conducted with 4-year-olds. Also, when it comes to being educational, the programs generally are at the same time boring, whereas SpongeBob is fun.

I personally have been watching SpongeBob since it premiered. It is an excellent children's program, and feel that this study should not change the minds of parents of the children who watch it.

What are your opinions on this study? Discuss! If you want to search for a more detailed article, feel free.

Sydian
September 12th, 2011, 08:02 PM
Parents whine over the littlest things. Maybe, because I am not a parent, I don't understand. But either way, the experiment probably was conducted wrong since they used the wrong age group, but you know, just because SpongeBob is intended for 6yrs+ doesn't mean it'll stop a kid younger than that from watching. My cousin is 3 and she watches SpongeBob, so yeah. Anyway though, it's up to parents' discretion as to what they want to allow their kids to watch. If I were a parent though, my kid probably wouldn't be watching SpongeBob, because I have plans to raise my child on Sesame Street and Blues Clues because those are the greatest shows ever.

Edit: Just wanna acknowledge what Zet said below, that they used newer episodes. The older ones were good, the newer ones...well, I have another cousin that's not allowed to watch SpongeBob because it's just...yeah, it's just not like it used to be. We'll leave it there.

Zet
September 12th, 2011, 08:04 PM
I read this the other day, and the test was done on 4 year olds when spongebob is for 6 - 11 year olds. Plus they were only showing the new episodes and not the old ones.

Also TV in general can cause attention problems, it doesn't even matter what sort of show it is. They could have showed a show of paint drying and it could cause attention problems.

CureYoshiDarkness
September 12th, 2011, 08:11 PM
Posso vedere dove questo proviene. ( I can see where this is going... )

My aunt is a teacher and she forbids Spongebob in any shape, way, nor form. She just hates him and her son is punished if caught watching it. Heck, I was watching the TV at my grandmother's and she came, took the remote and change it saying that, she didn't want me watching it. Ehh, go figure.

Kenshin5
September 12th, 2011, 08:25 PM
The justification was that SpongeBob is more fast-paced, constantly switching frames, and is intended strictly for educational purposes.
.
I thought most child shows have a bit of fast and go from one scene to the next in a short period of time. I don't know the "child" shows out there now a days, but when I was a kid I just watched whatever and didn't have an issue. And some young children may find though educational shows somewhat entertaining. Or instead of having the parents letting the TV educate their young child maybe they should take the incentive and be proactive about it and educate them their self instead of having the TV be the baby sitter.

If they want fast frames have them watch Robot Chicken since it changes frames I'd say at least every 30 seconds. No scratch that they should definitely watch Metalocalypse for educational purposes forget Blues Clues, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer.

Sydian
September 12th, 2011, 08:34 PM
If they want fast frames have them watch Robot Chicken since it changes frames I'd say at least every 30 seconds. No scratch that they should definitely watch Metalocalypse for educational purposes forget Blues Clues, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer.

EVERY CHILD NEEDS SESAME STREET OMG LEAVE.

My aunt is a teacher and she forbids Spongebob in any shape, way, nor form. She just hates him and her son is punished if caught watching it. Heck, I was watching the TV at my grandmother's and she came, took the remote and change it saying that, she didn't want me watching it. Ehh, go figure.

And you're how old? That's funny though. lol

I thought most child shows have a bit of fast and go from one scene to the next in a short period of time. I don't know the "child" shows out there now a days, but when I was a kid I just watched whatever and didn't have an issue. And some young children may find though educational shows somewhat entertaining. Or instead of having the parents letting the TV educate their young child maybe they should take the incentive and be proactive about it and educate them their self instead of having the TV be the baby sitter.

I agree with this. Wouldn't have this problem if parents would take kids away from the tv in the first place. And actually, I find children's educational shows entertaining. :( When I went to my aunt's for tutoring, my cousin would be watching them and they were soooo distracting and Blue's Clues came on so I texted my mom to tell her because I felt all nostalgic and I wanted to watch it and stuff but yeah math. :( Anyway, educational tv isn't going to teach everything, and regular tv sure isn't either. So do your kid a favor and actually get involved in their learning.

aruchan
September 12th, 2011, 08:34 PM
Spongebob is awesome. I grew up on cartoons and I don't have attention def...


Wait, what were we talking about? Sorry, I was thinking about something else.

Aphrodite
September 12th, 2011, 09:10 PM
Blues Clues

blues clues is perfect how dare you include blues clues in this thread it must not be tainted

I think this study is just rubbish. Since when was there any doubt that Spongebob was for entertainment purposes? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall being made to teach children about Spanish, unlike Dora the Explorer. Spongebob is just a childish show (the older episodes at least, the newer ones scare me a bit tbh) directed at children, simple at that.

CureYoshiDarkness
September 12th, 2011, 09:13 PM
And you're how old? That's funny though. lol

I'm eighteen years old, amico. But, yeah... that happened to me. I honestly don't see why parents are so against the show. Sure, they censor out words in a comical tone, for example. When something goes wrong, Spongebob will say something along the line, "Oh, barnacles." or something related to that. However, this is still used as a censor for something else. Though, they're episodes of the show that don't make sense at times, where other episodes do. But, regardless... it's still a kids show and there is no harm in or to it.

I thought most child shows have a bit of fast and go from one scene to the next in a short period of time. I don't know the "child" shows out there now a days, but when I was a kid I just watched whatever and didn't have an issue. And some young children may find though educational shows somewhat entertaining. Or instead of having the parents letting the TV educate their young child maybe they should take the incentive and be proactive about it and educate them their self instead of having the TV be the baby sitter.

I agree with this comment, as well. Most TV shows, like Bob the Builder, Blue's Clues and such are showing young children values in many fields. From math, spelling and grammar to social skills, friendships and more. However, upon further observation of many shows from my youth, TV broadcasting has taken a major turn downhill surprisingly these days and that's why I rarely watch TV anymore. I find either boring, pointless or it's just out there in mid-field. It's sorta sad in a way. Where did common value TV shows and broadcasting go? Ugh, good thing we have YouTube... to a point.

funrush
September 13th, 2011, 02:43 AM
I personally don't know what the problem with watching SpongeBob is, I've been watching it since it's premiered and still watch the new ones occasionally. I actually had a friend a long time ago who wasn't allowed to watch SpongeBob because his parents deemed SpongeBob "homosexual".

Crimson5M
September 13th, 2011, 04:51 AM
Are you kidding? My brother is four. He still can't talk and a lot of the time when he is spoken to, he ignores it. And he watches Spongebob literally all the time...

Yoshikkko
September 13th, 2011, 05:56 AM
I agree that the program is hyperactive and that it can influence young kids, but I think it didn't need a study to come to that conclusion. When Spongebob first premièred where I live, my mom just didn't want me to watch it for too long, for the same reasons I couldn't watch The Mask for too long. I think it's television series in general, and not just Spongebob Squarepants.

Melody
September 13th, 2011, 06:03 AM
It's not Spongebob that's degrading IQ. It's nothing like that. Children naturally have short attention spans, and that's something that I believe is something people are refusing to accept. Why do you think the more lively children end up getting labeled as ADHD and end up being drugged into submission? :/

To be honest it's not TV or anything that's causing problems...children develop based upon what they're exposed to, and we shouldn't be stopping that considering the way the world is constantly developing and evolving to allow things such as constant communication and such which is more easily harnessed by those with short attention spans and such. Somehow I believe the whole overall shrinking of attention spans of everyone IS BECAUSE we've got so much information to take in. We really shouldn't be crying wolf just yet...it's not yet conclusive that it's even remotely detrimental.

The Taco Lord
September 13th, 2011, 12:16 PM
Oh, how I love Spongebob...


I saw this too. I heard the word Bob on the news and i freaked out. Turns out it was Spongebob. It doesn't affect me at all in school or whatever(although The Sword does). And Spongebob isn't supposed to be educational (although the one about boat smarts is) its supposed to be funny. And, 4-year olds??? What the heck?!?!

Dr. McNinja
September 13th, 2011, 12:18 PM
Now, I'm going to say for one, being only twelve years old, I have watched spongebob and Dora the Explorer, both excellent shows, I will say.

Now, it is hard to fathom why Parents and Scientists continue to rant about Television causing short attention spans or learning difficulties. Now, Television hardly causes any of this, trust me, i grew up on these television programs, and, not to be egotistical, am very intelligent, I have a high understanding of philosophy and ethics, and am very good at most subjects. I say most, because I seem to struggle a maths slightly, I'm in the second to top class, there are 9 classes.

You could say that I do have a short attention span, but short attention spans don't mean that your academic progress will halt, see, there are three types of learning types, the ones that learn from listening, the ones that learn from doing, and the one that learn from both, now, I've forgotten the scientific words for these, but, yeah.

Besides, what 4 year old doesn't have a short attention span?

TRIFORCE89
September 13th, 2011, 04:35 PM
SpongeBob was very popular within college circles a few years back. lol Maybe, it's not meant for kids?

Really, it's not an educational show. It's not a public-television kind of show. It's now a "mommy and me" kind of show. It is a show aimed at kids, but let's not try to make it something it's not. It's purely entertainment.

I believe the kids got to pick what they wanted to watch. I would assume, that those who enjoy an educational show more than an entertainment show and picked to watch it, would obviously fare better.

Otter Mii-kun
September 13th, 2011, 05:00 PM
While this study will very well be used by politicians and media regulators to further regulate children's television programming (on cable networks, besides, over-the-air children's programming (which is a separate subject) is already regulated to death, due mostly to the war on obesity), the study results mentioned in this topic are inconclusive as, like Nickelodeon stated, the show is meant for older children, and attention spans of young children, especially at age 4 and younger, are usually very short anyway.

Khall
September 14th, 2011, 12:57 AM
lol wow.

Personally I wouldn't give two cares if Spongebob was finally cancelled.

But this study and its "conclusion" is very ignorant.

BareBones
September 14th, 2011, 11:49 AM
I don't think Spongebob Squarpants is a harmful cartoon. Four year olds naturally have short attention spans and learning difficulties are becoming more and more common, to my knowledge.

I agree that this study should not make parents shy away from showing their children programs designed purely for entertainment purposes. My childhood was filled with shows that had no educational benefit and I have never struggled with education. That said, my attention span is quite short and I'm prone to daydreaming and doodling instead of listening. Though I believe this to be more closely related to my passion for fantasy games and novels - if I immerse myself in fantasy when I get home I expect I'll do it when I'm in college too.

However, they have failed to consider the different learning types. If you are a kinetic learner it is quite likely you will not be able to pay attention to a lecture, and so forth.
I don't believe attention span is very relevant to how intelligent you grow to become because, as I have said, my attention span is alarmingly short but I am above average in most subjects.

EDIT: For your amusement purposes, and to prove my point, I will admit it took me around twenty minutes to complete and post this message because I became distracted by Tumblr.

Shadow_Angel
September 15th, 2011, 03:15 AM
Honestly I find this study inaccurate. I mean, sure Spongebob can say some jokes that littler kids won't get, but the show isn't intended to be for children, or educational. It's just for pure entertainment. It's not the same as before, the older episodes are better in my opinion, but honestly the show is jsut for entertainment. Not for educational reasons.

Also whoever said Blues Clues is bad, NO MAN NO I LOVE THAT SHOW, FREAKING LOVE IT. Don't be go dissing my show man. XD

Alley Cat
September 15th, 2011, 06:08 AM
Like others have said, all TV shows can cause an attention-disorder. Spongebob has nothing to do with it. Spongebob may not be the most educational, mentally-stimulating show out there, but it was never really meant to be like that in the first place. It was just meant to be fun and entertaining. Which is what is, and should stay as. Let's hope the government doesn't get its mits on it.

Spongebob's target audience is also 6+(come on, we all watch here. :D) So doing the test on 4 year olds is just stupid. That'd be like giving a toy that said ages 6 up, choking hazards, to them and complaining that the company made a dangerous toy. They just aren't meant to handle it. If they redid the study with more age appropriate candidates, then the results might have a little validity to them.

The article even says that the children were not tested before. So they have no real base to compare their results off of. There could have been other distractions and limitations that they did not know about among the subjects. Maybe they tested low because they were too busy using their imagination, which wouldn't be a bad thing in this world.

As for the whole-attention span thing, that has nothing to do with intelligence, this I'm sure of. We have an Autistic kid at my school and he has attention-span problems, and he's one of the smartest kids, I'd honestly have to say. Whether that's complimenting him or insulting everyone else, I do not know. I'm not the best at paying attention to something either, yet I'm probably in the top 5 smartest kids in my class. When I lose interest, I tend to just that, lose interest and do something else, even if I AM in class. But I can see where the concern is as someone might shift out of focus and not pay attention to something vital. But I tend to always be listening on a subconscious level, and I understand most of it. So whatever. :s

Spongebob is awesome show, the people who did the study have too many sources of error to make it a valid source, and intelligence has little to do with attention-span and focus.

Like others have said, all TV shows can cause an attention-disorder. Spongebob has nothing to do with it. Spongebob may not be the most educational, mentally-stimulating show out there, but it was never really meant to be like that in the first place. It was just meant to be fun and entertaining. Which is what is, and should stay as. Let's hope the government doesn't get its mits on it.

Spongebob's target audience is also 6+(come on, we all watch here. :D) So doing the test on 4 year olds is just stupid. That'd be like giving a toy that said ages 6 up, choking hazards, to them and complaining that the company made a dangerous toy. They just aren't meant to handle it. If they redid the study with more age appropriate candidates, then the results might have a little validity to them.

The article even says that the children were not tested before. So they have no real base to compare their results off of. There could have been other distractions and limitations that they did not know about among the subjects. Maybe they tested low because they were too busy using their imagination, which wouldn't be a bad thing in this world.

As for the whole-attention span thing, that has nothing to do with intelligence, this I'm sure of. We have an Autistic kid at my school and he has attention-span problems, and he's one of the smartest kids, I'd honestly have to say. Whether that's complimenting him or insulting everyone else, I do not know. I'm not the best at paying attention to something either, yet I'm probably in the top 5 smartest kids in my class. When I lose interest, I tend to just that, lose interest and do something else, even if I AM in class. But I can see where the concern is as someone might shift out of focus and not pay attention to something vital. But I tend to always be listening on a subconscious level, and I understand most of it. So whatever. :s

Spongebob is awesome show, the people who did the study have too many sources of error to make it a valid source, and intelligence has little to do with attention-span and focus.

Black Ice
September 16th, 2011, 08:13 PM
As opposed to any other cartoon show?

Graceful
September 18th, 2011, 04:34 AM
Well, I've been watching Spongebob since a very young age with my older sister and I turned out just fine! (Especially because I'm in most of the highest and smartest groups in my year at school and I'm expected an A* - C on my GCSEs, so yeah. I turned out fine).
It was also made for entertainment purposes anyway. Also, if they were going to do the test correctly it would have been with several 6 year olds (or over). I've learned to use fair tests (such as in Science) and this is just not fair because it wasn't tested on the right audience (for starters).

Violet Rose
September 18th, 2011, 11:33 AM
I did some research on it and people have said its because spongebob is fast paced cartoon and you brains cant take that all in so we just loose brain cells. What about all the other fast paced cartoons like Phineas and Ferb are those bad too? I love spongebob and i hate how they are just directing it on spongebob when other cartoons are also fast paced. I know some honor kids in my class they watch spongebob and there's nothing wrong with them.I really don't get this.

Guy
September 19th, 2011, 03:01 AM
Not like most parents take concern in what age limit a children's cartoon is intended for, but given that the show is aimed at kids six and up, yet they tested it on four-year-old children makes it seem highly invalid if you're taking this from a scientific standpoint. However, I think the simple fact to this is too much television (or too much of anything for that matter) is never good for one's health. You should always take things in moderate amounts. They even say this for educational shows that are aimed at children. To be honest, what they're saying here about the pace, applies for all cartoon shows including the older more nostalgic shows from the 90's and earlier.

I used to enjoy watching the earlier episodes of Spongebob, but I'll be honest when I say this, I never actually learned anything from watching it. I just used to follow it for entertainment purposes, and I later became weary of the show and just stopped watching it altogether. Now if I'm to be caught watching Spongebob, then that must mean there's really nothing good on television at the time and I've got nothing better to do but watch Spongebob.

Zeroblivion
September 20th, 2011, 04:17 PM
I watched Spongebob much. I like what's in it. I like the story.
I have a few collections of it. And I waited to have another season just as always.

But I'm now a teenager, since I still watch Spongebob. For the outdoors, I think of another character. I hope this series won't end.
My brother watches it but I did view this, so I kept my Spongebob Squarepants CD, in somewhere safe. No spiders. >_<

What to get it better the best.

Kura
September 20th, 2011, 04:41 PM
Ugh.. if a cartoon is going to influence the children so much.. then perhaps it's just their haphazard parenting that is "bad" for them. Those who let the tv teach kids morals aren't doing their jobs as parents.

It's a cartoon; not Planet Earth here.

pommecake
September 20th, 2011, 07:39 PM
I believe the study also said that the children who were negatively affected by Spongebob viewing were also much younger than the targetted demographic.

:P

Kura
September 20th, 2011, 08:14 PM
I believe the study also said that the children who were negatively affected by Spongebob viewing were also much younger than the targetted demographic.

:P

Haha.. I could imagine blowing this out of proportion:
"Come on Mummies! Let's sit the 4-year-old kiddies in front of Law and Order!!"