Watching SpongeBob Could Be Bad for Baby!

Could our favorite kitchen sponge character have negative effects on baby's development?

By Elena Donovan Mauer for

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under age two and limiting it after that. But some moms (especially ones who have older kids in the house) find it hard to cut it out completely for their toddlers and find themselves sneaking in a show here and there.

How much tv should a toddler watch?

If that's you, you're probably wondering: Are some TV shows better than others? Yes, says a new study from the journal Pediatrics. In the study, researchers tested three groups of four-year-olds -- for nine minutes, one group watched a "fast-paced cartoon featuring an animated kitchen sponge" (which we assume means SpongeBob SquarePants); another watched "a slower-paced, realistic PBS cartoon about a typical preschool boy" (which we think is Caillou); and a third drew with crayons and markers. Then, the kids were given attention, problem-solving and self-regulation tests. According to researchers, the "kitchen sponge" group did significantly worse on the tests than the kids in the other two groups -- and there was no significant difference in test scores between kids who watched the "preschool boy" cartoon and those who drew. They theorize that the quick pace and unrealistic nature of the "kitchen sponge" cartoon are to blame. We can only imagine the effects on younger kids being even more drastic.

Photo: Getty Images / The Bump

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