Sponge Bob Square Pants in Hot Water

You may have heard about a recent study that looked at children and their reaction to certain television shows. The researchers took 60 four-year-olds and let them either draw or watch 9 minutes of Caillou or Sponge Bob. Immediately after their activity they gave the kids a short test. The children who watched Sponge Bob did measurably worse than the Caillou or drawing group.

Although Sponge Bob may be annoying to some, it’s the pace of the show more than the content that is the problem. It is fast paced with many different voices, pictures and scenes to help keep the child’s attention. It was created for the early school age child, but typically watched by the preschool crowd and may not be appropriate for their young minds.

There was a great interview last week with one of the leading experts on children and TV that you can listen to here. It’s about 5 minutes long, and very interesting. One of the points he makes is that we need to assess our purpose with watching TV. Is it for education? For learning? For entertainment? For babysitting? (Dora has done her fair share of babysitting at my house) All of those are valid reasons to turn on the tele. TV is not inherently bad–we should just be aware of what we are watching and why.

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