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The Uselessness of Sponge Bob

Nothing could keep me  asleep on Saturday mornings past 6 a.m. as a kid.  No way was I going to miss any of my favorite cartoons.  He-Man, G.I. Joe, Smurfs, Inspector Gadget, The Chipmunks, Captain N: the Game Master, and Kissyfur were all cartoons I watched religiously on those mornings.

My favorite cartoon was easily He-Man.  What young boy didn’t like a show about swords and cats transformed by the power of Gray-Skull?  G.I. Joe took a close second to He-Man.  My friends and I collected the action figures from both shows and regularly had massive action figure wars that rotated from house to house.

In those many battles the good guys always won.  There was always a cause worth fighting for even if it was a pretty silly cause.  In the end the good guys had to have a good cause or what was the point?

From what I remember each cartoon I watched had some redeeming quality.  They all had some underlying message to teach me to do the right, or at least what was perceived to be the right at that time.  He-Man and G.I. Joe were all about protecting the weak.  Is there a nobler cause?

Cartoons today just don’t seem to have the same messages.  In full disclosure, I don’t really watch many cartoons anymore.  There could be cartoons out there that give kids a good message, and that parents can feel comfortable allowing their kids to watch.  Phineas and Ferb is one such cartoon.

I love Phineas and Ferb.  I think I have watched more Phineas and Ferb episodes than Addie and Casey combined.  The show is clever and filled with interesting facts.  Facts that Addie seems to grasp and hold onto for months after each episode.

Do you know what the little plastic thingy is on the end of a shoelace?  Ask Addie, she knows the answer.  As explained by Phineas and Ferb in a clever episode, the little plastic thingy on the end of a shoelace is an aglet.

If Phineas and Ferb rates a 10 out of 10 on the good cartoons for kids scale, Sponge Bob easily rates a -10 out 10 on that same scale.

For the first six years of Addie’s life, Casey did not allow Addie to watch Sponge Bob.  I was indifferent to the rule because I saw no harm in allowing Addie to watch cartoons.  After all, I watched my fair share of cartoons as a kid and I think I turned out okay.  Despite my indifference to the rule, I enforced Casey’s decision and Addie went Sponge Bob free until she turned 7.

After Addie turned 7 Casey allowed Addie to start watching Sponge Bob.  As time went on I began catching bits and pieces of various episodes and I was not pleased with what I was seeing out of the episodes or out of Addie.

Addie began mentally zoning out while watching Sponge Bob.  I could call her five or six times while standing only 10 feet away and she wouldn’t hear a word that was coming out of my mouth.  She also seemed to get in more trouble on the days she watched Sponge Bob.

The messages being delivered by Sponge Bob and his friends weren’t messages I wanted my daughter learning.  The shows didn’t teach my daughter anything that I wanted her learning–no unique facts, no interesting tidbits of information, nothing except burps, farts, rudeness, and bad manners.

Enough was enough, so for the first time I made a rule regarding TV watching.  I decided that if Addie is going to watch Sponge Bob, she is not allowed to watch more than two episodes per day.  She cannot ever watch Sponge Bob while Vivi is in the room and I do not allow her to watch Sponge Bob on a TV unless a parent is in the room to make sure the Sponge Bob rules are being followed.

Even with these rules in place, I still wonder if I am not being strict enough with Sponge Bob.  I can’t think of one good thing about that show and I still haven’t talked to any other parents who see anything good in the show either.

Do you allow your child to watch Sponge Bob?

Photo Credit: Flickr

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