In November 2004, the We Are Family Foundation released a kids’ music video featuring over 100 characters from children’s television programs, such as SpongeBob and Barney. The DVDs were sent to over 61,000 elementary schools, along with teacher’s guides for after-viewing discussions to promote “diversity and tolerance in classrooms.”
At the time, James Dobson, then president of Focus on Family, criticized the foundation’s “tolerance pledge” that encouraged kids to be “understanding” toward those of different cultures, races, or sexual identities.
Because my daughter attended one of the participating schools, I investigated the program and concluded that it did, in fact, promote more than “understanding” and crossed over into advocating moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual parents. Although I wanted my daughter to be around people of all faiths and belief systems, I didn’t want the schools to undermine our own. That’s when I stopped letting my kids watch the show at our house. (I didn’t think the show was “gay” or even morally damaging. But, if SpongeBob was going to be a pawn of the Left, he could stay in “Bikini Bottom” and out of my living room.) Seven years later, my kids still watch other shows — such as the fantastic Phineas and Ferb — even though their friends still watch the little sponge who lives under the sea.
Today, however, FoxNews reports on a new study that says parents have other reasons to resist the show:
Fast-paced, fantastical television shows such as “SpongeBob SquarePants” may harm children’s ability to pay attention, solve problems and moderate behavior, according to a U.S. study published Monday.
Researchers from the University of Virginia found that the learning ability of 4-year-olds who watched nine minutes of “SpongeBob SquarePants” was severely compromised compared to 4-year-olds who either watched the slower-paced TV show “Caillou” or spent time drawing.
Psychology professor Angeline Lillard conducted the research and said, “It is possible that the fast pacing, where characters are constantly in motion from one thing to the next, and extreme fantasy, where the characters do things that make no sense in the real world, may disrupt the child’s ability to concentrate immediately afterward.”
Will watching SpongeBob make your kids gay? Of course not.
But, forgive me if I smiled when I saw this research claiming it just might make them stupid.