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Study Finds SpongeBob's Pacing Too Fast for Preschoolers

A new study from the University of Virginia found that watching cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants hinders preschool children's attention spans. The researchers say they found that the frenzied pace of the cartoons is too much for children. SpongeBob switches scenes every 11 seconds, which is slower than a PBS cartoon, called Caillou, that switches scenes twice a minute. Kids watching SpongeBob performed worse on mental function tests than kids who watched Caillou.

The study concluded that just 9 minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon (such as SpongeBob) had "immediate negative effects on 4-year-olds' executive function. Parents should be aware that fast-paced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children's executive function."

Nickelodeon responded to the study by releasing the following statement to CNN: "Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show's targeted demo, watch 9 minutes of programming is questionable methodology. It could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust."

Nickelodeon also says in this ABC News clip that SpongeBob is not designed to educate preschoolers. They say it is designed to entertain kids. Take a look:



Posted on September 12, 2011

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