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How much television do you let your children watch?

Categories: Health

spongebob-cp-584.jpgFour-year-olds who watched Spongebob Squarepants in an experiment did measurably worse on mental function tests than those who watched a slower-paced cartoon. (Paramount Pictures/Associated Press)

Four-year-olds who watched nine minutes of the fast-paced cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants showed temporary attention and learning problems, researchers found.
The study compared 60 children who were randomly assigned to watch SpongeBob, the slower-paced PBS cartoon Caillou or to draw pictures as a control.

"Just nine minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon had immediate negative effects on four-year-olds' executive function," Angeline Lillard and Jennifer Peterson of the psychology department at the University of Virginia concluded in Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"Parents should be aware that fast-paced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children's executive function."

In the fast-paced show, the scenes changed, for example from a swimming pool to a bedroom, every 11 seconds on average compared with every 34 seconds on average in the educational TV show, the researchers said.

Nickelodeon spokesman David Bittler disputed the findings and said SpongeBob SquarePants is aimed at kids aged 6-11, not four-year-olds.

How much television do you let your children watch? What programs do they prefer to watch, and which do you prefer them to watch? Let us know in the comments below.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: POV

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