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Rasing your own nerdling in this modern age is not an easy task. Luckily child psychologists have been around for decades to make sure its a soulless and bland experience. If you let him or her watch superman, the next move is jumping off the roof with a towel around the neck. Pokemon? get ready for a kid wracked with seizures and animal related OCD. Looney Toons will only teach them the recipe for a delicious road runner dinner: roller skates, jet pack and, pain, so much pain. So get ready to wrap your larva in bubble wrap, the fun police are back.

According to a recent study by Psychologists Angeline Lillard and Jennifer Peterson of the University of Virginia, letting your kid watch SpongeBob will damage their brain. Really. If medical journals are your thing, you can read the article here, but fair warning, its lite on pictures and makes no mention of the fact that Patrick is played by the dumb guy from the hilarious 90’s sitcom Coach.

The Basic run down is, take three groups of 4-year-olds. One group watches SpongeBob, one watches Caillou (the slow-paced PBS cartoon about a preschool-aged boy) and the last group spends nine minutes drawing with crayons.

Here are the results, straight from the paper:

The present study found that 9 minutes of viewing a popular fast-paced fantastical television show (SpongeBob) immediately impaired 4-year-olds’ executive function, a result about which parents of young children should be aware.

I looked it up, “Executive Function” isn’t a sequel to 1996’s Executive Decision, staring Kurt Russell, Halle Berry and Steven Seagal (damn it, so many loose ends from the first one), it is the child’s memory, attention, and self-regulation skills. The kids that drew with crayons did the best in mental function tests, the ones that watched Caillou did slightly worse (but also suffered from extreme lameness… ok, I might have added that in myself) and SpongeBob made the kids hyper, ruined their attention spans and left them a distant 3rd.

Nickelodeon fired back via CNN: “Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show’s targeted demo, watch 9 minutes of programming is questionable methodology. It could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust.” In short, suck it science now here’s 15 straight episodes of iCarly.

This is the part where I slow clap and then seamlessly transition into a dismissive wank like motion. I am sure that after watching a wacky zany show such as SpongeBob, kids might be a little excited and charged, making it hard to focus on something fun like ‘mental function tests’. It’s because the show is fun and bright and joyful. Damn it. He lives in a pineapple, under the sea. SpongeBob SquarePants. Absorbent and yellow and porous is he, SpongeBob Square Pants! If nautical nonsense… wait, where was I?

Oh yea, I see no proof that cartoons like that lead to attention problems. Sure, if they JUST watch cartoons it could be damaging. Thats why you have something called balance in thier little lives. Thats why you play with crayons and Playdoh, with Legos and action figures, read books and get a telescope, ride bikes, shoot crossbows… It’s all part of being a kid. It’s suppose to be zany and fun at times.

But, never, never ever let them watch Caillou. That kid is just not right.

sources: npr / wapo / cnn.

Category: TV

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