September 13, 2011 by staff
SpongeBob Study, Viewing only nine minutes of frantic cartoon-like perennial children’s favorite “SpongeBob” may cause short-term care for children of preschool age, new research suggests.
For the study, psychologists studied 60 four years old. Each was randomly assigned to view either “a caricature of a fast-paced animated kitchen sponge,” ie, “SpongeBob,” the caricature of slower PBS “Caillou”, or nine minutes of color paper and crayons.
Immediately after the assignment of nine minutes, the children took tests of mental function. The tests measure the ability of children to solve problems, to remember what they said and follow the rules.
Another test measures the self and the ability to delay gratification, measuring the time that children could wait to eat snacks when an investigator left the room.
Those who had seen “SpongeBob” are measurably worse than the group drawing on all tests. However, there were no differences between the drawing and the children who watched “Caillou.”
For example, the test to delay gratification with snacks; children in the “SpongeBob” group could expect only two and a half minutes on average, compared to at least four minutes for the other two groups.
The results appear in the journal Pediatrics.
It has long been suspected that television viewing can lead to attention problems in young children in the long run, but this new study suggests there may be more immediate problems that can occur – even after only a few minutes of viewing.
It also suggests that parents should be concerned not only how much television their children watch, but what we are seeing.
The study’s lead author, University of Virginia Angeline Lillard, a psychology professor, believes the study shows that children are endangered in their ability to learn and use self-control immediately after seeing rapid sample.
She offered a few explanations for why children may experience short-term problems.
The first is that the rapid pace (with frequent scene changes and characters that are constantly in motion), and the fantasy aspect of the sample (with the characters doing things that are meaningless in the real world), can alter the children’s ability to concentrate afterwards.
It is also possible that children are unconsciously adopt the character traits out of focus and frenetic.
Lillard said similar problems have been observed in children who watched other programming fast-paced cartoon. “SpongeBob” not only
“I would not advise you to see programs such as the way to school or any time they are expected to pay attention and learn,” he told The Associated Press.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a child development specialist at Children’s Hospital of Seattle, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study notes research, has some “significant deficiencies”, including a small sample of only 60 children.
He also said the study did not examine the temporal effects of the behavior of fast-paced show lasted. It is unclear whether older children can be affected in the same way.
Despite the flaws, Christakis said the study provides some important clues.
“This is a small study, but it is very important because although there is a relationship between television viewing and children’s intellectual ability, it is worrying,” he told CTV News.
He said the study also showed that children see what is as important as how much to do.
“I was the type of programming that really made the difference, the fast-paced cartoon was associated with attention deficit, the slow pace and I do not think this is critical for parents and, in this case, educators and researchers to perform “he added.
However, a spokesman for Nickelodeon, which produces “SpongeBob,” disputes the results. David Bittler says “SpongeBob” is aimed at 6 – to 11 years old, not 4 years old. He also points out that most children in the study group were white and middle class families or rich.
“Have 60 non-diverse children, who are not part of the series objective (public) see nine minutes of programming methodology is questionable and could not form the basis for any valid conclusion that parents can trust,” he told The Associated Press.
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