I suspect the currant bun just wanted to raise a few hackles amongst its readers - and perhaps a derisory expletive or two - at the expense of people who would suggest such a thing. They are lagging behind the Daily Mail in that respect nowadays, after all.
Here's their take.
SpongebrainsIt matters not that the study - such as it calls itself - tested just 60 kids, and that they were all 4 years old when Spongebob Squarepants is intended for a higher age group. Some parents, somewhere, are no doubt already making a mental note to ban their offspring from watching the little yella fella in case their bubble-wrapped preciouses start leaking brain juice through their ears.
SPONGEBOB SquarePants can turn kids into dunces, say researchers.
Just nine minutes of watching the cartoon was found to impair the ability of four-year-olds to learn.
Their behaviour was also worse compared to children the same age who spent the time watching a gentler and more realistic programme — or simply reading.
Professor Angeline Lillard, who led the research, said: "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."
And this is the problem, because this nonsense is already flying around the globe at an alarming rate. All of which is quite handy for dragging out the old-fashioned kiddie TV police in the form of people like Dimitri Christakis, who is the type of over-protective hysteric we thought we'd seen the back of.
You know, the kind who predicted world chaos on the back of Tom and Jerry cartoons?
Given the enormous influence that electronic media in all of their forms exerts on the lives of children, it is astonishing how little parents, researchers, and policymakers have been spurred to action.I remember that drum being banged when even I was a kid, and some are still refusing to put down the sticks despite no-one taking them seriously, especially since they were gloriously lampooned on The Simpsons.
Most of what has been done to date to understand, curtail, or regulate the negative effects of media on children can be viewed as failure. Every single children's G-rated movie released in US theaters from 1937 to 1999 contained at least 1 act of violence.
But where there is a newly-terrorised public willing to believe any old health scare, there's a new angle to help the professionally-deranged tumble out of their box.
Christakis - in a commentary on Lillard's piss poor study - has imagined a new way to present his little crusade. Now, I wonder where he got this idea from?
"Media is a public health issue, and harm reduction approaches are what is needed. Steering children and adolescents toward safe or even health promoting media activities must be a goal, and actionable strategies for reaching that goal must be devised."Bingo! The new cult of all-encompassing public health - from smoking bans to reading Facebook - delivers once again.
From now on, it's Blue Peter, Newsround, or nothing for the little 'uns, I'm afraid. Anything else and you're a shite parent, don't you see? Child abuser, even.
It's quite amazing what one can achieve with determination, some junk science, and a gullible public wedded to the idea of total elimination of even the most risible of risks. Isn't it?