Sponge Bob

Bob covered the start of the Sesame Street TV show many years ago when he was a reporter and said it immediately struck him that it was way too fast for little kids and would likely make them hyperactive. (The producer gave Bob a dirty look and no answer.) Now a new study supports his initial view (took em long enough) and concluded that fast TV is as bad for kids as fast food.

The study from the University of Virginia found that the “SpongeBob Square Pants” cartoon show is also bad for four-year-old’s attention spans, but that a PBS program called “Caillou” is OK. (“Mister Rogers Neighborhood” was a nice low-key program that kids liked.)

The researchers divided a group of four-year-olds into three groups: One group watched “Sponge Bob SquarePants,” a second watched “Caillou,” and the third drew pictures for nine minutes instead of watching television. They found that the Caillou and picture-drawing groups performed equally well on tests administered afterward, but the Sponge Bob group scored significantly worse. (Angry letter from the Sponge Bob producers to follow.)

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