SpongeBob: Brain Sponge

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?  A brain sponge!  Seriously!  A new study claims that after watching just nine minutes of SpongeBob SquarePants, four-year-olds struggled with attention and learning on mental function tests.  This is compared to a group of preschoolers who watched the kids’ show Caillou, and a group who drew pictures for the same amount of time.

The differences were significant.  Only 15% of the kids who watched SpongeBob passed the mental function tests.  35% of those who watched Caillou passed them.  70% of the mini-Michelangelos passed.

Bottom line…tv ain’t great for kids’ mental functioning, and fast paced, non-sensical shows like SpongeBob are the worst.  SpongeBob is like pop-rocks for a preschooler’s brain.  Fizzy and perhaps fun, but ultimately junk.  SpongeBob is an animated sponge that sucks up a child’s ability to focus, at least in the short-term.  Researchers didn’t test to see if the impact was prolonged.

This reminds me of another blog post I wrote awhile back, Toys And Television For Your Toddler: How Much Is Too Much?.   Check it out.

I’m not saying you should ban your preschooler from all television.  Of course not.  Without the occasional tv break, many parents — including me — would lose their ability to pass mental function tests.  But maybe don’t choose SpongeBob, or choose it in moderation.  He is a sponge, after all.  How much of your child’s brain power do you want him to absorb?


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