Is SpongeBob a Reason Why Your Children Have Less Self-Control?
The Christian Science Monitor released an article on September 12, 2011 discussing a study among 4 year old children. The study allowed children to watch nine minutes of a SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon and concluded the following:
"Kids who watched just nine minutes of the fast-paced children's cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants" did worse afterward at tasks requiring focus and self-control than did kids who watched a slow-paced cartoon and kids who entertained themselves by coloring."
Here's a brief description of the survey and the conclusion.
60 children participated in the survey. The children were split into three groups:
- Color a picture
- Watch SpongeBob SquarePants
- Watch a Public Broadcasting Service program (Caillou)
After the children participated in their specific task they were evaluated by a few simple tasks:
- Following directions (moving a "disk" from one place to another)
- Participate in a similar version of "Simon Says"
- Repeating number sequences
- Participate in the "marshmallow test" (place a plate of marshmallows in the room and leave, give options such as ring the bell and you can have two or wait until the adults returned and they could have ten.)
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Although the scientists were not able to state specifically what programming the children were watching, their descriptions were specific enough to concluded that the children were watching SpongeBob and Caillou. The results concluded that the children that were chosen to watch SpongeBob SquarePants for nine minutes were less focused than the children that watched the slower paced program or colored pictures. Scientists were not sure how long the effects of watching the fast paced cartoon last, but advised that it could be a cause of children losing focus.
If you're interested in the study-- here's the article published in the Christian Science Monitor:
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