Effects of Television on Children | Sponge Bob - Television Cartoons | ADHD | Child Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. Certificate validity:
04 Apr 2017 - Apr 2018

In the Spotlight

Psychiatric Labeling Labeling People
Adventure Therapy
Best Children's Books List (200+)
Positive Steps and Interventions
Arts Therapy
Self Help Psychology - 16 Keys
Self Help Mental Health
Depression Self Help
Music Psychology
Music Therapy
Poetry Therapy
Coaching and Mentoring
Green Therapy
Adventure Therapy
Biofeedback - Neurofeedback
Professional Therapies
Psychological Disorders
Help for Depression
About Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Treatment of Anxiety
Overcoming Panic Attacks - Naturally
Sleep problems Sleep Remedies
Obsessive Compulsive DisorderOCD
Eating Disorders Info
Schizophrenia Help
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Conduct Disorder
Treatment of Epilepsy
Children and Youth
Autism in Children
Child Abuse Information
Positive Parenting - 24 Steps
School Psychology, Education
Sport Psychology
Internet Safety
Pornography Effects - Addiction, Help
Suicide Prevention

ADHD Books - English / Spanish - (offsite) NorthEast Books & Publishing

ADHD Book - Amazon


Please send any suggestions and comments
The Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology is a non-profit New Jersey corporation and operates as a 501(c)3.

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication
by the AYCNP

What is ADHD? What coping skills can help?
TV Turn Off can be part of the solution to overcoming symptoms of ADHD for children.

365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child: Plus 50 All-New Bonus Activities, by Steven J. Bennett, Ruth Bennett

This book has great ideas to keep children creative, engaged, and busy in positive activities. Children who learn to do without television become more creative, positive, and self-reliant. This particular classroom of first-graders loved doing art. Many children, when given the choice of a TV, children's movies or art, opt for the art.

365 Afterschool Activities: TV-Free Fun for Kids 7-12, by Sheila Ellison (Author), Judith Anne Gray, Susan Ferdinandi

Crafts, hobbies, games and reading are all explored in this Children's Book-of-the-Month Club selection. The text is designed to entertain and educate grade school children -- without television -- during those valuable after school hours and beyond.

501 TV-Free Activities for Kids, by Diane Hodges

These books are perfect for parents (and grandparents) who occasionally wonder if the kids are watching too much TV. The ideas are brilliant, and many activities allow a parent to set up a game, and then leave the children to proceed unassisted.

Page updated: November 21, 2015

Children’s Television Impacts Children’s Executive Function and Contributes to Later Attention Problems

In a study entitled, The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children's Executive Function by professor Angeline S. Lillard, PhD, and Jennifer Peterson, BA of the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, researchers concluded that children’s television can have a marked affect on attention problems.

The paper, published September 12, 2011 in Pediatrics, states that “Previous study results have suggested a longitudinal association between entertainment television and later attention problems.”

Clinical studies confirm what we might deduce from observation, fast-paced cartoons such as Sponge Bob contribute to attention problems in children.
As much as we would like to think that our favorite cartoons are harmless, fast-paced cartoons do contribute to attention problems in children.

What the University of Virginia study adds is, “Using a controlled experimental design, this study found that preschool aged children were significantly impaired in executive function immediately after watching just 9 minutes of a popular fast-paced television show [Sponge Bob] relative to after watching educational television or drawing.”

The Virginia study delineates between educational television
and entertainment television.

The conclusion is what most of us could discern intuitively, that Sponge Bob, and other fast-paced cartoons, does indeed wind up the spring of children and can affect the attention and ability to concentrate in young children. In this study, sixty four-year-old preschool children were assigned to watch a fast-paced television cartoon, a realistic educational cartoon or to draw for nine minutes.

The children who were assigned to watch the educational cartoon and the children who were assigned to draw, performed significantly better in executive function tasks than those who watched the fast-paced cartoon.

The authors of the study state that “Parents should be aware that fast-paced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children’s executive function.”

Executive Function Skills

Functions associated with the Executive Function (EF) are part of the skills associated with the prefrontal cortex, which include, goal-directed behavior, attention, working memory, inhibitory control, problem solving, self-regulation and delay of gratification (as opposed to instant gratification, commonly associated with television). EF is recognized as a key to “positive social and cognitive functioning.”

Therefore, EF has a bearing on the overall success of children in school, on a wide range of fronts. Long-term effects of watching television for children have been documented in some studies, this was the first to consider short-term effects. The study states that “even adults report feeling less alert immediately after watching television.” And that “Entertainment television is particularly associated with long-term attention problems.”

Sesame Street upped the pace of television for children, starting around 1968/1969, however, Sesame Street today is double the pace of Sesame Street when it began over 30 years ago, states Lillard and Paterson.

An "onslaught of fantastical events" in some television cartoons, many contribute to problems with attention in children.

In addition to the fast pace of the cartoon, the authors hypothesize that the “onslaught of fantastical events,” portrayed in the cartoon shown to the children in this study, may have further exacerbated the Executive Function of the children. Additionally, the study does not make conclusions about the long-term effects of watching fast-paced television, and because the cartoon segments were only nine minutes, compared to longer periods of time typically involved with television cartoons for children, the actual effects on EF, including attention, may actually be “more detrimental” than the study indicates.

The actual effects of watching television cartoons may be "more detrimental" than the study indicates

The authors state that “Children watch a great deal of television,” which “has been associated with long-term,” and in the case of this study “short-term” attentional problems.

The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children's Executive Function
Angeline S. Lillard and Jennifer Peterson
Pediatrics; originally published online September 12, 2011
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-1919

Further information on Executive Function:
Kaplan S, Berman M. Directed attention as a common resource for executive functioning and self-regulation. Perspectives Psychol Sci. 2010;5(1):43

Art is a positive activity that children often prefer to movies and television.
Art is a positive activity that children often prefer to movies and television. Parents, teachers and school principals (directors) should guide children towards art rather than movies, television and especially violent and aggressive video games.

Pages Related to Effects of Television on Children

TV Alternatives Children and Art - Ideas for parents (and teachers) to help their children get involved with art!

Positive Parenting - Ideas for today's parent's

Mental Health Infants and Babies

Children and Television - TV Violence

Children and Movies - How movies can affect a child's mental health

School Ideas for teachers and principals

Educational strategies in public schools