Is TV Messing With Kids’ Minds

What do you think of this Good Question guys? SpongeBob is under attack. Do fast-paced cartoons mess with kids’ minds?

What do you think? What’s your opinion?

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15 Responses to Is TV Messing With Kids’ Minds

  1. Jenny says:

    I don’t know why Spongebob is the only one under attack. What about all the video games that kids play? I would think that those are worse than just watching a cartoon.

  2. I have to say that I agree with Jenny – if we’re going to attack shows for this, it should be many shows, including all the old cartoons that my mom’s generation watched on Saturday morning since those were super fast paced as well.

    But the thing is, I feel that this is another one of those senseless attacks on things that are sort of for the sake of finding fault with anything that’s new. I don’t think that tv and video games are bad for children at all – I just think that the cult of tv is bad, and that families in general need to stop congregating in front of the tv as if it’s some religious ritual. I’m all for books, all books, all the time, as you know Joy :D.

  3. SKL says:

    I don’t think there is any “all or nothing” answer to this kind of question.

    First, let me say I think it is ridiculous to test the kids immediately after 9 minutes of a fast-paced cartoon. It would make more sense to test them a couple of hours later, or the next day. I mean, who puts their kids in front of a crazy show right before they expect the kid to sit quietly and contemplate? To me, the results of this study are meaningless because they only focus on the moment after the media exposure, ignoring the rest of reality.

    But in general, I do believe that using TV like a drug has effects on both kids and adults – especially if it’s on a lot. It’s been proven that watching TV correlates with depression in adults, for example.

    Personally, I don’t have time for TV, and neither do my kids. We just don’t turn it on. They get some screen time – at school, with my sister or mom, or when we watch a family DVD together – but it’s not all the time, and it’s rarely mindless stuff or crazy stuff. I just don’t see a need for that.

    I tried Sesame Street when the girls were younger. I remember loving that as a kid, but it was a lot slower in those days. It gave the mind space to think. The recent episodes I’ve seen have been chaotic, fast-paced, loud, high-pitched, and generally irritating, I could not see them as educational – unless the goal is to teach kids to act crazy. (As if kids needed any help there.)

    But on the other hand, I watched plenty of TV as a school kid – probably averaging 2-3 hours per day, from the RoadRunner to Andy Griffith. I don’t think it made me stupid or crazy. But, I could not imagine 8 hours of TV daily. There has to be some time where the child’s mind is in gear to come up with its own ideas. TV could even spark some ideas for the kid to go try – but without plenty of “unplugged” time, when can the ideas be tested?

    So I guess I believe that a little TV is not going to hurt anything, provided it is at the appropriate time and place and is balanced with active pursuits. Too much TV is unhealthy – but we already knew that.

    Once again, as a taxpayer, I want my money back for this stupid Spongebob study.

    (I should note that I’ve never watched Spongebob. Too many better things to do.)

  4. Laura says:

    I can honestly say I’ve never seen an entire Spongebob episode. I do, however, know part of his theme song…

    Josh loves PBS Kids – Clifford, Curious George, Sid the Science Kid… and he’s starting to get into some of the older cartoons like WordGirl, as well. But we don’t have cable, and he rarely just sits and watches TV. If he’s got it on, he’s always doing something else… building a train track, racing cars, etc. I can’t remember the last time he just sat and watched TV. Oh, wait, yes I do. It was when we were on vacation in the Dells, and that’s about all he had the energy to do!! And that day, it was Phineas and Ferb.

    I can see how 8 hours a day would affect a kid. My goodness, it would melt ANYONE’S brain to sit and watch that much TV. But I also have to agree with SKL… expecting kids (what age was this? Did they say? I might have missed it) to shift quickly from a fast-paced TV show to solving math problems, or whatever they were doing… most adults can’t adapt that quickly. Their minds are a thousand different places, too. And it’s not just the fault of TV. It’s the entire fast-paced lifestyle that everyone leads.

    I don’t think you can blame TV exclusively here. If you’re looking for something to pin kids poor attention span on… look to the lifestyle. Daycare at 6AM, school at 8, back to daycare till 4. Then baseball, then piano, then homework, then maybe some TV while they’re eating dinner, then tomorrow we do it all again. kids aren’t allowed to just BE anymore. The have to be going a thousand miles an hour every minute of every day. THAT’S a bigger problem than Spongebob or Phineas & Ferb.

    • SKL says:

      The study was done on 4-year-olds.

    • SKL says:

      My kids’ schedule is pretty busy. But I do make it a point to give them some down time most days. Wherever we go, I try to work in some putzing / playing. When schedules are tight, this is somewhat of an art.

    • Jenny says:

      Hunter likes the PBS shows too. I especially like the word world, sid the science kid & super why cause they teach you stuff! I was so happy when they took that Caillou off the air!! That kid was so annoying I couldn’t stand watching it.

  5. Sue says:

    I think this study goes for any fast paced show whether it’s a cartoon or not. And, this is nothing we haven’t heard before. We also like Spongebob here! I always thought he was a little better than some of the cartoons b/c there’s actually a message in his 30 min show. But, like any other show, too much of it isn’t a good thing.

  6. Phyllis says:

    Too much of anything isn’t a good thing! I think, generally speaking, that parents use the tv as a babysitter for their younger children so the parents can accomplish stuff while the kids are entertained. I’ve always preferred PBS to other programing because those programs actually help teach kids things. Unfortunately, after watching Sesame Street recently I was disappointed in the lack of alphabet and numbers teaching that was on compared to when my girls were younger. However, most of the programs are very skilled at helping kids learn while still being fun.

    I think this study was unrealistic,because as others have pointed out, you don’t immediately test kids on something that requires a peaceful mind thought process. It was ridiculous in my opinion.

    • Jenny says:

      I agree about Sesame Street. I used to watch that all the time when I was younger and loved it! Now it’s not even the same. I tried getting Hunter to watch it a few times but he loses interest in it and so do I. They don’t teach the stuff like they used to.

  7. Nikki says:

    “So while in the 1970s, the typical child watched 2 to 3 hours of TV a day, today total screen time for kids is up to 8 hours a day.” Are you kidding me?! 8 hours? No matter what a kid watches, it should never be that much!

    I don’t mind Spongebob, but it’s rarely watched here anymore. Bailey hasn’t been into cartoons for a while. He’d rather watch Monster Quest! He even DVR’s The Golden Girls! lol His dad teases him about that one. He’ll watch the Disney shows like iCarly, those type of shows.

    Now, Lilly. She hates Spongebob. I don’t know why. She like Bubble Guppies, Tom and Jerry, Max and Ruby, Miss Spider’s Patch.

    I don’t really thinks it’s what they watch (given it’s age appropriate)…but the amount of time they spend watching TV. I think this study is way off! Spongebob always offers a moral of the story at the end.

  8. Laura says:

    STudies like this make me nuts, quite honestly. When I was in school – and Dammit, Jim, I’m a musician not a scientist – we learned that you form a hypothesis, and then tested it. But you had to be open to different outcomes, and you did your level best to stay out of the process. You interpreted the results as impartially as possible. It seems like studies like this are always formed to get the results to verify the hypothesis. Does that make sense?

    For example: “I think Spongebob is bad for kids” So, instead of studying a wide age group in a controlled situation that has half watching Spongebob and the other half doing something else, like playing an active game, and then taking a test, say, an hour after completing both activities… They do this. Sit them down to watch the show, then ten minutes later, expect them to do algebra. Of COURSE there’s going to be a problem!!! But people don’t think like that. It ticks me off. It seems like this is how all the “scientific evidence” that we have for everything is nowadays.

    • Jason says:

      I listened to this on MPR today, and I was wondering why they didn’t switch the kids around or study how long after the children stopped watching were they still effected by the shows. Naturally most kids are not going to be watching t.v. ten minutes before they start schoolwork.

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