…So does the fact that he’s a talking sponge
A recent study by the Journal of Pediatrics came about with a shocking revelation—SpongeBob SquarePants isn’t educational. Gasp!
According to an article by ABC News, the study took a group of 60 four-year-olds and split them into three groups—one that drew freely with markers, one that watched PBS, and one that watched SpongeBob—all for nine minutes.
Afterwards, the kids were given tasks to test cognitive abilities, like puzzles and counting backwards. Unsurprisingly, the kids that watched SpongeBob performed the lowest.
Experts say the rapid pacing of the show—with scene changes every 11 seconds on average opposed to only two scene changes per minute for the PBS program, according to ABC News—takes a toll on their attention spans.
But there’s another reason SpongeBob isn’t educational—he’s a talking sponge who lives in a pineapple. His friends include a squid that lives in an Easter Island Head, a squirrel that lives in an underwater dome, and a money-grubbing crab that owns a fast food restaurant.
I don’t have a problem with the results of the study. I have a problem with the study itself. What was accomplished in telling us that PBS is more educational than SpongeBob? If parents aren’t smart enough to figure that out themselves, then their kids don’t stand a chance anyway.
Nickelodeon defended SpongeBob in the ABC News article, saying that the children in the study are two years younger than their target audience. Of course, Nick is going to defend themselves against the results of the study, but they’re really missing the point—SpongeBob is not supposed to be educational. It’s supposed to be funny.
It seems that groups like the Journal of Pediatrics are always targeting shows for being too violent, or in this case not being educational enough. But what’s wrong with that?
It’s great that PBS is around to help kids grow and develop, but shows like SpongeBob have their place too. Who says everything kids watch has to be educational?
Sometimes, as adults, we don’t want to watch something that makes us think. We want to laugh and escape into a completely zany, over-the-top, world like the one we see in Bikini Bottom. Kids probably feel the same way. There’s nothing wrong with kids watching SpongeBob, as long as that’s not all they’re watching.
And as for the issue of kid’s attention spans, nothing is going to help that. These kids are growing up in the Internet age. There’s no way to escape the fast-paced, constant multitasking.
Anyway, parents should be glad shows like SpongeBob are around. If they want a break from the monotonous, slow pace of PBS shows, they can watch a show that has twisted adult humor that goes over kid’s heads and entertains them at the same time.
…So does the fact that he’s a