Addie has always been allowed to watch TV that I select for her in moderation. She doesn’t have free reign of the remote nor have I ever parked her in front of a show simply because it was marketed towards kids. Just because something is animated doesn’t mean that kids should be watching it. One of the shows I avoided successfully for a long time was SpongeBob Squarepants, not necessarily because Addie wouldn’t enjoy it, but because it annoyed the daylights out of me. It is crude, crass and fairly disgusting. I was never allowed to watch Ren and Stimpy as a kid and I’m beginning to realize why. There are a few people who never understood why I didn’t allow her to watch it, my husband being one of them. Only recently has Addie been able to “earn” an episode of SpongeBob once or twice a week after she completes her chores and homework. I can completely admit to enjoying a brainless show now and again as a break from a busy day…which is exactly why TLC programming does so well.
Brainless may not even be a strong enough adjective for SpongeBob. Addie loses all focus and attention when watching it, which isn’t surprising; a University of Virginia study found that shows like SpongeBob almost immediately impair a child’s attention span. We could superglue all her toys to the ceiling two inches behind her and she wouldn’t notice as long as we finished in the 22 minutes of SpongeBob coma.
Am I going to take SpongeBob away? Maybe. I have always payed very close attention to how she acts and behaves after shows and if any certain one causes a dramatic shift in her personality for the worse? It’s gone. (Caillou should be marched off a cliff with all the whining that little bald child incites.)
Remember how it used to be really hip to hate on that big purple dinosaur? I take it all back. Addie used poise and manners in a way never before seen after watching Barney. Dora made her grumpy and Sesame Street? Sesame Street 4EVA is all I have to say about that.
So far there haven’t been any real issues with a little SpongeBob in Addie’s life, in fact I’m having more trouble with her reading Junie B. Jones books, sheesh that kid uses the word stupid a lot.
What are the viewing rules in your house?