In a 60-kid study mentioned by U.S. News and World Report, children who watched the fast-paced SpongeBob SquarePants were unable to solve problems as well as children who watched slower-paced shows or spent time drawing.
Unrealistic, fast-paced shows could be damaging to children because they overstimulate the brain, making it harder to maintain focus, plan, organize and control inappropriate behaviors, the researchers wrote.
Researchers told Bloomberg they don’t know how long the effect lasts.
“It may be that children recover quickly. Certainly, immediately after, there was a strong impact particularly on the most challenging tasks,” Angeline Lillard, the author of the study and a professor of psychology, said.