Distractions: A distracting Spongebob
September 22, 2011 10:14 PM
A recent study posted in the journal Pediatrics claimed that four-year-olds who watch nine minutes of the fast-paced cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants display instant effects of impaired attention spans.
Sixty children from the same social demographic were randomly assigned to either watch nine minutes of SpongeBob SquarePants or the slower paced Caillou. Those who watched SpongeBob scored lower on the attention span tests than those who watched Caillou, who virtually all got the same test results.
When confronted with these findings, Nickelodeon spokesman David Bittler said that SpongeBob is a show aimed at kids aged six to eleven. He claimed that testing the fast paced cartoon on four-year-olds would be skewed.
Despite Bittler’s protest, the new findings have led parents to worry about the effects of fast-paced cartoons on their children. A handful of parents decided to show nine minutes of SpongeBob to their children enrolled in university. The effects were astounding.
Research showed that the farther into classes students got, the more involved they became in watching cartoons. In fact, when one student watches a fast-paced cartoon of any nature in a room with their door open, students passing by who are heading to class are 13% more likely to walk into the room to join. Once this group grows, it becomes more attractive to those who pass. By the time the group reaches ten or more, there is virtually no escaping it—students will join in and watch cartoons with them.
Following this pattern along with the increase of work during the school year, researchers project that by mid-term, there will be a small peak of interest in fast-paced cartoons followed by a sudden drop in interest. It is also estimated that interest in cartoons will gradually grow during months following mid-term, spike two weeks prior to exams, and continue on that path until Christmas break.
Parents, look for the warning sings when it comes to your children’s interest, or lack of interest, in schoolwork. The side effects of fast-paced cartoons on university students are: low grades, unusual relaxation, laughter, small moments of clarity of how much work needs to be done followed by more cartoons, lack of sleep and, less commonly, reversion to childhood habits.
Studies show that watching SpongeBob SquarePants makes students a bit too care free.