Never! This can only be something that evil Plankton thought up!
A research study has found that watching even nine minutes of the fast-paced cartoon can have immediate negative effects on a preschooler’s brain function.
Compared with children who watched a sleepier cartoon or children who watched none, four-year-olds who watched the frenetic show did significantly worse on a series of tests measuring the brain’s executive function, the umbrella term for the collection of skills including attention, working memory and self-regulation that are strongly associated with academic success…
In the experiment, psychology researchers at the University of Virginia asked three groups of four-year-olds to either sit and draw, watch part of a PBS show “about a typical U.S. preschool boy,” or watch part of an episode of a “very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea,” the authors wrote in the paper. (While the SpongeBob reference is obvious, Dr. Christakis says the PBS show is likely Caillou.)
After a number of cognitive tests, children who watched SpongeBob scored about 10 per cent lower than the other two groups.
Dr. Christakis says the likeliest explanation is overstimulation. The slower show changed scenes on average every 34 seconds, while the speedy clip changed every 11 seconds. Dr. Christakis calls this “supernatural pacing.”
“You’re asking your brain to process something it’s not well suited to. And it’s tired,” he says.
Dr. Christakis notes that more research is needed to answer many questions, including whether these effects are long lasting.
“At a minimum, parents shouldn’t have their kid watch SpongeBob before they take the kindergarten entrance test,” he jokes.
I’ll go on record here and say that I for one think Sponge Bob is such a cute little fellow, and he is about the only thing really worth watching on those terrible little screens that they have on the seat in front of you when you’re sitting on a long flight.
Oh and by the way, his fan club is here.