Children who watch SpongeBob SquarePants may have trouble learning, a new study says.
Researchers from the University of Virginia found four-year-old children who watched nine minutes of the fast-paced cartoon had "severely compromised" their ability to pay attention and problem solve compared to kids who watched the slower-paced show Calliou or spent time drawing.
Psychologists tested 60 children immediately after they watched the shows or drew to see how well they solved problems, followed rules and remembered what they had been told.
Lead investigator Angeline Lillard said parents should not only consider how much TV their children watch, but also what their youngsters are watching.
"Parents should know that children who have just watched SpongeBob Squarepants, or shows like it, might become compromised in their ability to learn and behave with self-control," Lilliard said.
The study is published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.