Watching SpongeBob makes preschoolers slower thinkers. Or at least that is what one study suggests. A research study looked at 60 four-year-olds that completed different cognitive and delayed gratification tests after watching different stimuli. The study concluded that kids who watched SpongeBob had significantly lower scores on the tests than the kids who watched a PBS show. The researchers attribute this response to the fast-paced nature of SpongeBob, which “switches scenes on average every 11 seconds, as compared to the PBS cartoon, which switched only twice a minute”, as well as the fantastical nature of the show. This, in turn, made the kids less focused and more distracted (Hutchinson). (However, as suggested by Nickelodeon, the study only targeted a small demographic and an age range that is not the target audience of SpongeBob.)
But SpongeBob is not the only digital media that has this effect. Other studies with different media sources say that their influence on development is detrimental by decreasing attention spans. But other studies say that these same media sources are preparing kids well for a world that is full of technology and fast-paced information. Any thoughts, experiences, or opinions on how media has affected your/another person’s development? Was it positive or negative? Do you think the fast-paced media of our age is positive or negative as a whole?