See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

Spongebob is killing your kids’ attention span?

I think most of us parents already suspected this.

From CBS News:

A new study says watching Nickelodeon’s popular cartoon, “SpongeBob SquarePants”, can negatively affect a 4-year-old’s focus and memory – and it only takes less than 10 minutes of tube time.

For the study – published in the September 12 issue of Pediatrics -60 four-year-old kids were assigned to either draw, or watch nine minutes of a “fast-paced” cartoon “featuring an animated kitchen sponge,” or a slower-paced educational cartoon, “Caillou.” Seventy percent of the kids who drew passed the problem-solving tests with flying colors, compared with 35 percent who watched “Caillou.” Only 15 percent of the fast-paced cartoon viewers passed.

Nickelodeon responded that there were not enough kids in the study to make such a definite claim and that the show is unfairly being compared.

Jane Gould, Nickelodeon senior vice president:

“It made me scratch my head and feel confused,” Gould said. “I couldn’t understand the logic of including a program like ‘SpongeBob,’ which is expressly designed to entertain 6-to-11-year-olds and have that program be compared to a slow-paced educational program for preschoolers. ‘SpongeBob’ is not designed to educate preschoolers. It’s designed to entertain kids.”

Community Comments

#1 Derrick Wood
September/13/2011
@ 9:02 am

Did they mention how Telletubbies turns children in to zombies who will stop at nothing to make sure all their brain cells slide out of their ears?

Seriously though, where are the studies that do this to other shows. I mean how stupid is garbage like, Jersey Shore making this country? Sponge Bob gets picked on a ton and like the spokeswoman said, unfairly in this instance.

#2 Derrick Wood
September/13/2011
@ 9:03 am

Sorry ^ Senior Vice President.

#3 Scott Metzger
September/13/2011
@ 10:40 am

I?ve watched SpongeBob SquarePants with my three-year-old daughter a bunch of times and it?s had no negative effect on her attention span and ability to–I like waffles!

#4 donna lewis
September/13/2011
@ 11:05 am

What were we talking about?

#5 Rich Diesslin
September/13/2011
@ 12:50 pm

Sesame Street has also been accused of this (many years ago). SS’s idea was to make commercials to encourage learning, thus short and simulating. Other complaints have been kids might want to climb in the trash can (Oscar) or eat cookies (oh no!). I think Cookie Monster like veggies a lot now. Go figure.

Video game would encourage lengthening attention spans as long as it was visually stimulating and violent. ;)

It’s a lot like health issues … one day something is bad for you, the next it’s good. All things in moderation people … including moderation.

#6 Jeff Pert
September/13/2011
@ 1:11 pm

In less than six months, someone will come out with a study saying just the opposite. The kids in those studies weren’t EVERY kid who watches Spongebob.

I hope tax money wasn’t funding this crap.

It’s like people just LOOK for trouble.

#7 Scott Metzger
September/13/2011
@ 1:28 pm

Rich: “I think Cookie Monster like veggies a lot now.”

Yes, he does. Cookie Monster refers to Cookies as “sometimes food” and eats them in moderation. (One at a time!)

I liked him much better when he’d go through a box of cookies like wood chipper.

#8 Dave Stephens
September/13/2011
@ 6:28 pm

LOL! The Political Correctness Brigade taint everything with their mantra of “Everything is dangerous! Words are weapons! Dairy is dangerous! Cookies kill! ” LOL!

I’m guessing they are also trying to promote Soy-milk over milk… Sheesh…

#9 Keith Brown
September/13/2011
@ 9:28 pm

I couldn’t finish the article.

#10 Rich Diesslin
September/14/2011
@ 1:15 pm

Scott – yep, I vote for the wood chipper too! ;)

Dave – soy-milk – yuck!

#11 Kat Ruhl
September/14/2011
@ 2:39 pm

Like anyone thought sponge bob was actually GOOD for their kids to watch. Its a mindless, stupid show that might not poorly affect your kid but it certainly won’t positively affect them.

With kids, especially those that are so young, they shouldn’t even be in front of the TV all that much to begin with, even with educational programming.

#12 John Cole
September/14/2011
@ 3:12 pm

Kat — You’ve described pretty much every show since Philo T. Farnsworth first struck on the idea of a video tube. But I think you sell Spongebob short. The show is consistently funnier and more imaginative than 95 percent of the current kid and ‘tweener fare, as evidenced by its long-term success despite Nick’s efforts to kill it through over-exposure.

#13 Larry Levine
September/14/2011
@ 4:31 pm

Watching animated cartoons is like listening to Mozart, both increase children’s IQs.

#14 Nancy Roy
September/18/2011
@ 10:14 am

First it was Baby Einstein. Now it’s Spongebob! My kids LOVE this show. Silly studies…..

#15 Me
November/3/2011
@ 9:09 pm

Now a-day spongebob episodes are like what the heck! spongebob’s episodes show the characters get hurt and use details like spongebob got a splinter and spongebob’s had green stuff and I thought how do kids enjoy spongebob?

#16 Sandra
November/6/2011
@ 12:43 pm

I think spongebob is killing kid’s mind I remember old spongebob I thought it was all right now. I watched it now and the endings are not happy they are most likely to be gross

#17 Sandra
November/6/2011
@ 12:50 pm

I’am still a kid! My brothers and I liked spongebob when it was early. Then we watched it now and most of the endings we not happy like all the times! It was gross, in one of the episode spongbob got hurt he had a splinter it was oozing green!! I don’t know how kids like this?!? And I’m still a kid.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.