Study: SpongeBob Spoils Kids' Attention Span

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Study: SpongeBob Spoils Kids' Attention Span

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Pediatricians claim that watching 9 minutes of SpongeBob's antics could ruin a kid's whole day at school.

Before videogames took up the toxic torch, kids watching too much TV was a common scapegoat for the corruption of our youth. Now it appears medical science has returned to its old punching bag of fingering cartoons as the reason why Jimmy doesn't want to learn his multiplication table. A study conducted by psychology professors Angeline Lillard and Jennifer Peterson from the University of Virginia put 60 4 year olds in front of a TV playing 9 minutes of SpongeBob SquarePants, while others watched the PBS cartoon Caillou or drew pictures. The kids who watched SpongeBob were demonstrably worse at accomplishing mental tasks immediately after exposure when compared to the other activities.

"I wouldn't advise watching such shows on the way to school or any time they're expected to pay attention and learn," said lead-author Lillard. The tests the children were given varied from a Tower of Hanoi-like puzzle to the delay of gratification. The latter test just sounds like torture for a 4 year old child:

First, they were shown a bag of miniature marshmallows and a bag of Goldish crackers and asked which they would like to have as a snack. The experimenter put 10 pieces of the chosen snack on 1 plate and 2 pieces on another, and placed the bell between the 2 plates. Children were told that they could eat the 10 pieces if they waited for the experimenter to return, or they could ring a bell at any time to get the experimenter to come back immediately, in which case they could only have the 2 pieces. The experimenter recorded the time from when she left the room until the child either rang the bell or ate the snack, or after 330 seconds when the experimenter returned.

The kids who watched Spongebob did not wait as long as the kids who did not, and the researchers believe that the fast pace of the Nick cartoon is the reason why.

A spokesman from Nickelodeon disputed the conclusions of the study, pointing at the small sample size, the lack of a diverse group of kids and the tiny fact that Spongebob is meant for much older kids. "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," said David Bittler from Nickelodeon.

Nah, dude. SpongeBob is weird. There's no way I'm letting my kid watch it, especially now that I know she'll never be able to wait 4 minutes for marshmallows after watching it.

Source: Pediatrics via Associated Press

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Science has discovered that kids like marshmallows!

Interesting. Though I'm pretty sure most kids don't like learning simply because most just find sitting in a classroom for hours to be boring as shit.

And here I thought my aunt was overreacting when she forbade my cousins to watch SpongBob because 'it makes you stupid' was her rationale...

My office has Fox News on and I heard them mention this story was coming up. I thought they were going to say something about Spongebob promoting a homosexual agenda.

This just in:

Staring blankly into space for more than 2 seconds will ruin your children's grip on reality!

I'd thought that this would be extremely obvious? Everyone, not just kids, can have this kind of reaction to changing gears.

I'm sorry, but what kind of stupid-ass experiment is that?

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the key to stopping child obesity is to make them watch more damn Spongebob.

Xaio30:

This just in:

Staring into blank space for more than 2 seconds will ruin your children's grip on reality!

This is also in sleeping 2hrs instead of 1hr will make you more tired. when you wake up. Like sleep is supposed to be good for you, whats up with that?

All TV ruins your attention span. TV is built around quick cuts and constant action and rel life... isn't.

SinisterGehe:

Xaio30:

This just in:

Staring into blank space for more than 2 seconds will ruin your children's grip on reality!

This is also in sleeping 2hrs instead of 1hr will make you more tired. when you wake up. Like sleep is supposed to be good for you, whats up with that?

I know right?

I mean why when you wake up in the morning the longer you stay in bed the more tired you get?

Patience =/= attention span.

Not to mention, it's not often that children will watch cartoons and then directly after sit down and be shown sweets in class. Children go through a set of steps typical to going to school (walking to school or getting driven there, waved bye, walking into a classroom environment, getting books out, etc) that can be easily compared to routines people have before they go to bed helping them sleep. The distinct lack of ecological validity is just unprofessional.

Edit: Not to mention, if this was preformed in a lab setting unfamiliar to the child, the nervousness of the child to leave would make the entire experiment useless.

Watching Sponge Bob always made me suicidal, so I never had that trouble.

Spongebob vs Caillou? That's like matching up Chocolate Chip cookies with gruel. I freaking hate Caillou...Arthur was a much better show. I miss Busy World of Richard Scary as well.

As for the study...well, it doesn't effect me. I don't really care I just wanted to slam that bald little bastard Caillou.

A show like Spongebob doesn't promote thinking?
put retarded things in, get retarded things out would be the snapple version of this.

When another hundred tests are done on a random sample of kids across the US and the UK i will accept this conclusion if the majority of these tests correlate. Otherwise, it's still considered scientific BS

A similar test was performed with children, tv shows were not involved, and it was merely a test of how long the children in question could wait. PBS didn't give me a sample size, but the Nova special concluded that on average, of the children that participated in the study, those who waited longer were more likely to have a higher IQ and go on to lead a more successful life. (The test was done a while back, and the results posted were from a follow up, years later.)
That test holds weight only because there was only one variable, the children themselves. This test has variance between children, and prior actions, without a substantial sample size to help mitigate the former. As such, there's no reason to take it seriously, and serves as nothing more than anecdotal evidence.

PS. The Nova special was about monkeys, and monkeys are always funny. The human children were used as a point of comparison.

Spongebob is not at fault here. The study is what seems a bit off.
In actuality, Spongebob educates kids. Just look:

AbstractStream:
Spongebob is not at fault here. The study is what seems a bit off.
In actuality, Spongebob educates kids. Just look:

More kids need to be taught about Wumbo. The US is way behind in the study of Wumbology, I mean after all it's first grade stuff.

Man, you can't beat the system. Now if you really want to ruin your 4yr old's mind, let him watch Cow & Chicken.

Anyway - Spongebob isn't exactly educational or aimed at younglings. So, if you want your kid to learn, stick 'em in front of Open Sesame.

Who watched cartoons on their way to school? Rich people that don't want to deal with their kids.

I dont think the effect is worse than feeding the kid sugar in breakfast.

What's with these studies? They're all researching dumb stuff! What's next? A study on how kids prefer cookies over veggies?

SpongeBob is not meant to teach your kid about quantum science! It's a cartoon, meant to distract him and occasionally make him laugh, that's it. it's supposed to be silly, nonsense and easy to follow. Check, check and check. Not every single show needs to be a Discovery Channel documentary.

Oh, wait! This just in! Two and a Half Men is...*REMOVES GLASSES DRAMATICALLY*...Educational! Stop the presses! This could change the world as we know it! Madness!!

Isn't Spongebob TV-Y7 here in America? As in it is meant for children 7 and up? I'm pretty sure putting 4-year olds in front of a TV screen with Spongebob on isn't going to bring positive results.

Putting aside the people that use tv, video games etc., as scapegoats and fodder to get their name out, there are people that really believe that all this stuff is really bad for their kids. You know what? While these activities are not inherently good for you NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE TANGIBLY GOOD FOR YOU. Holy shit, these are kids let them have their childhood. In spite of the rosy memories that people may have of their childhoods, even the most fortunate kid could have periods of great stress in their lives (awkward phases, periods where they're teased a lot), and they need some catharsis in order to deal with it in a healthy way and yes part of that is taking a break from reality. This story is about opportunists scaring overprotective parents so that they have something to write about. If any parents see this, please watch this for balance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo2Y4PzTCOc&list=FLkiZeHZcYn9zObxm3XPUz0Q&index=20

"I wouldn't advise watching such shows on the way to school or any time they're expected to pay attention and learn,"

Or maybe, just maybe, school could actually be assed to be interesting and entertaining? I know, what a radical idea!

Hmm... I wonder if they have a pod cast, brb

Oh HELL yes! Well, even though you are going to cringe when you read the following, yes, this is from NPR:

Transcript and Article:

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/09/12/boys-school-games

Live Recording:

http://www.wbur.org/media-player?url=http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/09/12/boys-school-games&title=Could+Video+Games+%26%238216%3BRe-engage+Boys+In+Learning%3F%26%238217%3B&segment=boys-school-games&pubdate=2011-09-12&source=hereandnow

Yeah, I just happened to be listening to NPR on the way to get a gas cap and some Mt Dew(don't read too much into that), when lordy lordy, NPR had a SANE person on to talk about reforming schools to be more engaging and embracing different styles of teaching and learning. And one of the points she brought up was the use of video games to encourage tangential learning! ZOMGWTFBBQHAX!!!!

Here's the old Tangential Learning EC since the new one hasn't been re-upped yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN0qRKjfX3s

Anyway, listen and be amazed!

Maybe those kids just really wanted those damn Marsh mallows, even if they only get two in the end.
Marsh Mallows are good.

This seems like a very pointless study. Of course TV will acutely reduce attention span, anything stimulating would. It would be way more useful to know if it has any lasting effects on a child's ability to learn and pay attention. Furthermore, they didn't separate whether Spongebob was making the kids less attentive or the other activities were making them more so.

Or maybe -wait for it- little kids are really impatient?

Shocker, I know.

Woodsey:
Watching Sponge Bob always made me suicidal, so I never had that trouble.

um... what?

Riobux:
Patience =/= attention span.

This.

Not that we really needed another reason to hate on SpongeBob, what with it being the scourge of all the GOOD toons on Nickelodeon.

I have a friend who on multiple occasions practically cried into my avatar's shoulder for how SpongeBob cancelled all his favorite shows. And don't get me started on on how fucking humiliating it is to hear the Norwegian actor for Disney's Aladdin (known for his action roles) play SpongeBob (by all rights a fucking retard) after the first actor (known for looney roles like Ickiss from "Aaahhh! Real Monsters!") quit somewhere between the seasons.

Platypus540:
Or maybe -wait for it- little kids are really impatient?

Shocker, I know.

You lie!!!! how dare you say such blasphemy!!

Next you will say that being a child 2 minutes feels like a really long time and they are hungry now.

Also as a note that by going for the food without wanting help shows signs of independence on the part of the child.

Damn you, Science! Damn yoooooouuuuuuuuu!

Cid SilverWing:

Riobux:
Patience =/= attention span.

This.

Not that we really needed another reason to hate on SpongeBob, what with it being the scourge of all the GOOD toons on Nickelodeon.

I have a friend who on multiple occasions practically cried into my avatar's shoulder for how SpongeBob cancelled all his favorite shows. And don't get me started on on how fucking humiliating it is to hear the Norwegian actor for Disney's Aladdin (known for his action roles) play SpongeBob (by all rights a fucking retard) after the first actor (known for looney roles like Ickiss from "Aaahhh! Real Monsters!") quit somewhere between the seasons.

Guess what, that voice actor chose to take the job! That's what they do, they take roles in exchange for currency! I don't see how him doing his job makes you humiliated.

I don't see why people consider hating a children's TV show a worthwhile use of their time and effort.

Platypus540:

Woodsey:
Watching Sponge Bob always made me suicidal, so I never had that trouble.

um... what?

It was/is fucking retarded.

imnotparanoid:
Science has discovered that kids like marshmallows!

Science has also proven that marshmallows are better between chocolate and graham crackers.

Besides, this attention-span damping doesn't belong to Spaonge Bob. It belongs to Fanboy and Chumchum.
Watch this and tell me you didn't loses a couple braincells. Ignore the lyrics if you wish.

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