By Ashley Truong
Growing up, there wasn’t one child on my street who did not know who Spongebob was. I’d even go so far as to say that Spongebob Squarepants is a fundamental staple of childhood. So, when I stumbled upon an article stating that watching unrealistic, fast-paced shows may hinder a child’s ability to concentrate and learn, I was shocked. It’s common knowledge that watching scary or violent shows can lead to traumatization or violence; however, can “kid-friendly” cartoon shows affect a child’s short-term learning abilities? Well, psychologists at the University of Virginia conducted an experiment to test whether programs like “Spongebob Squarepants” hinder a child’s short-term learning abilities. In the experiment, a group of four year old children, who made up the experimental group, watched “Spongebob Squarepants” for nine minutes, while another group of four year olds, who made up the control group, either drew or watched a slower-paced show called “Caillou” for nine minutes. Once the children finished their nine minutes of activity, the psychologists tested their cognitive skills. The data collected showed that overall, children who watched “Spongebob Squarepants” did not perform as well as the children who had not. While this experiment needs to be conducted several more times to ensure the findings are creditable, it raises an important question: Should we be worried?
Nauret, Rick. Psych Central. n.p. August 2011. Web. 22 September 2011.