The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found fault with animated cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants, reporting a study that concludes the fast-pace show, and others like it, aren't good for children.
Using what it calls a "controlled experimental design," the AAP said its study found that preschool-aged children "were significantly impaired in executive function immediately after watching just nine minutes of a popular fast-paced television show relative to after watching educational television or drawing."
In other words, the TV program could cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.
Nickelodeon didn't have a comment on the matter, but did release this statement, questioning the sea-worthiness of the study: "Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show's targeted demo, watch nine minutes of programming is questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust."
A key issue for Nickelodeon officials: "Spongebob" is targeted to kids 6-11, but the study focused on 4-year-olds.
An individual close to the network said the program's broad awareness among parents has been leveraged before to gain noteriety and spur funding.
"People do studies all the time about the effects of media. This one will stress out parents unnecessarily," said an individual close to Nickelodeon.