Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Exposed: Scooby Doo and Spongebob

Scooby Snax aside, "Scooby do is the healthiest of all children’s TV programmes." Health consultants conclude.

After consultants, from the Department Of Health, spent around 200 long hours watching children’s television programmes; a survey was released by the government calling Scooby Doo ‘healthiest’ children’s show. Why was this survey conducted? Well it came as the result of an attempt to assess the most active characters in children’s shows. The characters were given marks for things as simple as taking a walk and playing sport.   

    “Because most of the action in the cartoon shows Scooby and the gang running away from monsters, they topped the list,” says the Daily Telegraph. “Officials at the health ministry were at pains to insist they were not holding up for Scooby Doo, famed for his love of Scooby Snax, as a healthy role model.”
   Apparently the survey was just a ‘fun talking point’. I’ll bet they enjoyed watching a large cowardly dog solving mysteries.
Now the definition of ‘Healthy’ doesn’t just mean physically healthy/fit but something almost entirely different. The correct definition of ‘healthy’ is: the state of total physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of illness or disease. Does “The healthiest children’s television programme” sound appropriate now?
    Children have nightmares; not all do- but it isn’t rare. Children, as do adults, have fears and phobias. Watching a cartoon, no matter how popular, that depends on monsters scaring people and wrecking havoc cannot be good for fearful children. How is that maintaining a state of  mental wellbeing?

  Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that a US study has claimed that watching programmes such as Spongebob Squarepants compromises a toddlers “executive functions”. These functions, if you are curious to know, include their ability to pay attention, problem-solve and control behaviour. What two year old do you know that can sit still anyway?

  This new research was found during an observation of roughly 60 toddlers. The toddlers were treated to just under ten minutes of Spongebob and then another nine minutes of an ‘educational cartoon’.

  “It is possible that the fast-pacing, in which characters do things that would make no sense in reality, may disrupt the child’s ability to concentrate immediately afterwards.” Angeline Lillard, the psychology professor behind the study, concluded after they discovered the “Toddlers executive functions were negatively affected by Spongebob.” Poor little sea sponge.
    As if that wasn’t enough; did you know that Spongebob Squarepants has been accused of promoting global warming through propaganda and encouraging homosexuality.
 What possessed the people instigating both of these research projects? There are far more greater things to be looking into than children’s cartoons. There is not a song, book or programme today that doesn’t “promote” something; even without a conscious decision.
    You can influence what a child watches, reads or listens to but they will discover things one way or another; it’s inevitable.
  I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to hear about what other useless research projects they have up their sleeves.

 “Children & Young People Now” - www.cypnow.co.uk 20th September - 3rd October 2011. Page 40.

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