Most parents have heard the American Academy of Pediatrics suggestion that children under the age of 2 should not watch any amount of TV. But a lot of us are left in the dark when it comes to which children’s shows our young ones should be watching once they are of TV-viewing age.
For example, lots of parents are unsure which television programs will offer the most enrichment for our kids and which we should steer clear of until they’re a little older. A new study finds that it may be in your preschooler’s best interest to wait a couple of years before they find out “who lives in a pineapple under the sea”.
The study, published by the journal Pediatrics, worked with 3 groups of 4 year olds. One group drew pictures for 9 minutes while the other two groups watched either 9 minutes of a PBS cartoon called Caillou or Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob cartoon.
Immediately afterwards all of the children were given tests. What researchers found was that the kids in the SpongeBob group were more easily distracted and unable to stay on task while taking the tests as the children who watched Caillou or drew pictures. Both the Caillou viewing group and those who drew pictures performed at about the same level on the tests.
It makes sense that the lightning-fast brightly colored world of SpongeBob might be too much to take in for a 4 year old while the much quieter low-key Caillou seems to be easier for them to handle.
Before we go banning all of Nickelodeon’s programs for our preschoolers though, in their defense they have recommended SpongeBob for an older audience. A recent report from MSNBC quotes a Nickelodeon spokesman, David Bitler, who says, “SpongeBob is produced for 6- to 11-year-olds. Four-year-olds are clearly not the intended demographic for this show.”
What do you think of the study that suggests SpongeBob hinders a 4 year olds ability to stay on task and focus?
Tell us which TV shows your preschooler loves to watch!