Why is everybody hatin’ on SpongeBob lately?
A study came out last week saying that SpongeBob might actually be harmful for kids (pretty much around the age of four, which is not their target audience, by the way) to watch on a regular basis because it might cut down on their ability to focus. Here’s the deal: sixty kids were tested. The first group was made to color, the second group watched SpongeBob and the third watched Calliou (not sure on the spelling). When the designated time was up, they were all tested and it was clear that the SpongeBob group did (apparently) significantly worse focus-wise than the kids in the other two groups.
Here’s my problem with this study: it’s stupid. Any parent knows that SpongeBob Squarepants isn’t the most educational show that a child could watch. If you’re looking to teach your kids colors or numbers or singing in Spanish, Dora the Explorer or Blues Clues are better choices. However, don’t children deserve a little bit of time to just relax and be entertained with a cartoon that doesn’t shove education at them every second? SpongeBob and his pals are purely for entertainment value–there’s really nothing more to them–but that’s okay because kids shouldn’t have to learn every second of the day.
When I was growing up, everyone watched Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny. Not exactly educational shows. And yet, for the most part, my generation turned out okay. Four year-olds aren’t necessarily known for their focusing skills anyway. And, like I said before, 4 years old isn’t even SpongeBob’s target audience.
Should parents be aware of what their children are watching? Yes. Should children watch SpongeBob all day long? Probably not. But, in an effort to teach our kids about the world around them, let’s not take away the entertainment factor. Dora and Blues Clues are great for learning, but we should allow our children to just sit back and relax with a bunch of silliness from time to time and for that, I feel SpongeBob is ideal.
How about we take the time, money and energy it took to complete this study and invest them in something that makes a little more sense, like finding funding for inner city schools to have enough text books for each student. Or encouraging communities to start their own preschool programs, like Head Start. THAT kind of stuff will help kids learn, not attacking cartoon characters.
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