SpongeBob may cause learning difficulties



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Tollorin
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:28 pm

So do say a recent study

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/local_news/water_cooler/spongebob-squarepants-in-hot-water-from-study-of-4-year-olds

Quote:
SpongeBob SquarePants in hot water from study of 4-year-olds

CHICAGO - The 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.

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

Previous research has linked TV-watching with long-term attention problems in children, but the new study suggests more immediate problems can occur after very little exposure -- results that parents of young kids should be alert to, the study authors said.

Kids’ 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.

The results should be interpreted cautiously because of the study’s small size, but the data seem robust and bolster the idea that media exposure is a public health issue, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis. He is a child development specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital who wrote an editorial accompanying the study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Christakis said parents need to realize that fast-paced programming may not be appropriate for very young children. “What kids watch matters, it’s not just how much they watch,” he said.

University of Virginia psychology professor Angeline Lillard, the lead author, said Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob” shouldn’t be singled out. She found similar problems in kids who watched other fast-paced cartoon programming.

She said parents should realize that young children are compromised in their ability to learn and use self-control immediately after watching such shows. “I wouldn’t advise watching such shows on the way to school or any time they’re expected to pay attention and learn,” she said.

Nickelodeon spokesman David Bittler disputed the findings and said “SpongeBob SquarePants” is aimed at kids aged 6-11, not 4-year-olds.

“Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show’s targeted (audience), watch nine minutes of programming is questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust,” he said.

Lillard said 4-year-olds were chosen because that age “is the
heart of the period during which you see the most development” in
certain self-control abilities. Whether children of other ages
would be similarly affected can’t be determined from this study
Most kids were white and from middle-class or wealthy families.

They were given common mental function tests after watching cartoons or drawing. The SpongeBob kids scored on average 12 points lower than the other two groups, whose scores were nearly identical.

In another test, measuring self-control and impulsiveness, kids were rated on how long they could wait before eating snacks presented when the researcher left the room. “SpongeBob” kids waited about 2 1/2 minutes on average, versus at least four minutes for the other two groups.

The study has several limitations. For one thing, the kids weren’t tested before they watched TV. But Lillard said none of the children had diagnosed attention problems and all got similar scores on parent evaluations of their behavior.

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/local_new ... z1XrzOfxky



Another reason to regret the time when slower-paced kid animes were the most watched cartoons in the world. (Do not include USA.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3lKmxI-0h0&feature=related[/youtube]



Willard
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:59 pm

WTF!? Patrick spends all his time with SpongeBob.



Oh. 8O



techn0teen
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:46 pm

I wonder if the Spongebob episodes they showed were the older seasons or the newer seasons. The older Spongebob episodes were moderately paced with the new episodes being very rapidly paced. I can hardly keep up with the newer episodes. I found the Spongebob episodes in 1999 very soothing to watch.

I agree this should be considered a public health issue. Especially in countries with socialist health care programs. Treatment for ADHD costs a lot of money.

So are we going to charge television stations an additional "Attention Deficient Tax" or will parents take up the responsibility and make sure their children keep television in moderation and watch child-friendly television?

So if parents do decide to exposure their children to so much television that it makes them to the point of ADHD, does that mean the other people in socialized medicine should pay for the parent's mistake?



johansen
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:14 pm

techn0teen wrote:
I agree this should be considered a public health issue.


lol.. i would argue TV in general is a public health issue, not much you can do about it though.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:17 pm

I thought Fairly Odd Parents would cause them. Spongebob is funny!



Fnord
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:35 pm

Oh yes, let's blame everything for a child's failure to learn on everything except the child, okay?

While we're at it, let's include:

911
Absentee fathers
ADD / ADHD
Alcoholic mothers
Allergies
Anime / Manga
Asbestos
Atheism
Being taught too fast
Being taught too slow
Biblical morality
Cell phones
Comic books
Family Guy
Gamma Radiation
Gang violence
Global Warming
Hand-me-down clothes
Hand calculators
Homework
Intestinal parasites
Lead-based paint
Microsoft Windows
Minority status
No habla ingles aqui
Parents
Poor diet
Pornography
Processed sugar
Puberty
Public Radio
Religion
Rock & Roll
Second-hand shoes
Self-esteem issues
Sesame Street
Sexting / texting
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Star Gate/Trek/Wars
Teachers
Television
Tests, quizzes and examinations
The "Other Kids"
The Internet
The Liberal / Gay cabal
The Obama Administration
The Simpsons
Xenon gas

... but never, ever blame the child!


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Last edited by Fnord on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DC
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:43 pm

Fnord wrote:
Oh yes, let's blame everything for a child's failure to learn on everything except the child, okay?

While we're at it, let's include:

Snip...

... but never, ever blame the child!



You missed out parents.

And teachers.

And global warming.

Personally I blame the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I've never been the same since I was touched by noodly appendage at an early age. :oops:



Fnord
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:48 pm

DC wrote:
You missed out parents. And teachers. And global warming.

Corrected. Thank you!

DC wrote:
Personally I blame the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I've never been the same since I was touched by noodly appendage at an early age. :oops:

I would not dare blaspheme the Great Semolina!


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Sweetleaf
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Wow, I think that is a little much.....Spongebob is not even meant as an educational show it is a comedy show for kids though pleanty of adults including myself like it to. It is entertainment and anything in excess is usually not good so my suggestion is parents should not let their kids watch t.v all day...not complain about shows they don't like.



Fnord
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:27 pm

It seems that whatever children find most interesting, the majority of parents will blame for their failing grades, their inattentiveness, their surly attitudes, and general lack of responsibility - anything except the parents themselves. It's almost as if the parents are jealous of anything that has more influence on their kids than they do, including teachers.


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ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:30 pm

Fnord wrote:
It seems that whatever children find most interesting, the majority of parents will blame for their failing grades, their inattentiveness, their surly attitudes, and general lack of responsibility - anything except the parents themselves. It's almost as if the parents are jealous of anything that has more influence on their kids than they do, including teachers.

All that sounds like Fairly OddParents more than it does Spongebob.



aspiegirl2
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Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:56 pm

Here is the link for the actual research article (which is available for free to the public on the American Academy of Pediatrics website):

'The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children's Executive Function'

I thought it was an interesting subject to research, and I think it will be good information for people to know in the future (especially as it relates to the everyday lives of many people's children). However, I thought that there were a few problems with their research. One, after reading their methods section, they didn't mention anything about changing the order of tasks that the children performed. Sometimes there can be order effects in these types of situations when performing a few different assessments in a row. Second, I think that they should have given the kids some sort of assessment on executive functioning (perhaps a different version of the same test they would be giving them, or something similar) that would test the baseline of the kids' executive function. How would they know if the kids' executive functioning actually got worse? Someone in the news article said:
“It confirms something that parents have observed for some time,” Christakis says of the study. “They put their kids in front of television, particularly fast-paced programming, to quiet them down, but when the TV goes off, the kids are more amped up than they were before.” I think that before people start making conclusions that we should wait for more research, to see if these results can be replicated. Maybe they could try to speed it up even more? Or slow it down? That would be interesting if they did that in a way that people didn't really notice it too much. I liked how they made the study a blind study so that the experimenters could, knowingly or unknowingly, act biased toward one condition over another (even if it didn't make much of a difference, according to the research article). It's interesting research thus far, however, and I hope to read more about it in the future.


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jojobean
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Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:42 pm

I feel alittle dumber watching spongebob too.

The study make sense though, all that fast paced action causes the brain to short circut and then trying to learn right after all that jazz,ends up depleting the brain somehow.

The interesting study would be to have test kids watch 2 episodes each day for 2 weeks and then test them 4-5 hours after with a control working on an art project for the same amount of time.
That would show if fast paced catoons had a more lasting effect on learning or if it just a temperary issue from watching it imediately before something that requires attention.

btw, I am back...my computer crashed...I have a new one now. doing the happy dance in my head.

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phil777
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Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:35 am

Well, it does makes sense in my mind. Kids are pretty receptive to information from their environnement during their first years, so overloading them like such should have some sort of result. =/

On the other hand, they did say Spongebob was meant for 8+ years old, but tbh I doubt the parents or the kids know the difference. <.<



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Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:59 am

should they develop warnings for fast paced media to have a warning for parrents that show is designed for 7 or older?


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