Monday, September 12, 2011

Study Puts Spongebob in hot water

Cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.

Kids who watched just nine minutes of the fast-paced children's cartoon did worse afterward at tasks requiring focus and self-control than did kids who watched a slow-paced cartoon and kids who entertained themselves by coloring.

The problems were seen in a study of 60 children randomly assigned to watch either “SpongeBob SquarePants” or the slower-paced PBS cartoon “Caillou” or assigned to draw pictures. Immediately after these nine-minute assignments, the children took mental function tests; those who had watched “SpongeBob” did measurably worse than the others.

Children’s cartoon shows typically feature about 22 minutes of action, so watching a full program “could be more detrimental,” the researchers speculated, but they said more evidence is needed to confirm that.

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