How do fast-paced cartoons affect children? -

How do cartoons affect your kids?

Mom and Dad warned us that TV could rot our brains. Well, it may be true – at least for children who watch certain types of shows. Check this out. Your kids' cartoons may be doing more than offering them a few laughs.

A recent study finds watching frenetic-styled cartoons may have an impact on a child's thinking process.

What they found was that children who were exposed to a clip of a fast-paced cartoon did more poorly on outcomes that were assessing executive functioning, like attention control, impulse control, and delay of gratification than children who watched a slower-paced show and a control group who were allowed to free-draw for 9 minutes. Researchers say the pacing of these TV shows may be creating a deficit in attention. 

They found that a fast-paced cartoon like "SpongeBob SquarePants" underwent a complete scene change every 11 seconds. However, the cartoon "Caillou" was slower, with a scene change every 34 seconds.

Kids who watched the slow-paced cartoon performed on the same level as kids who spent their time coloring. This result indicates that it wasn't TV watching that was causing the deficit, but the type of TV being watched. The concern is that over stimulation from hyperactive shows may exhaust the brain and may impair a child's focus. But researchers don't know how long this effect lasts and note that more studies are needed.

"This is not a study showing that there are detrimental effects to a child's brain development, that's clearly not the case here," says the Cleveland Clinic. "More research needs to be done before we ever make a statement like that."

Regardless of program content, they suggest parents set limits on screen time for their kids. And according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under two should not watch any TV.

If kids do watch TV, pediatricians recommend they tune in to educational shows, particularly ones the whole family can enjoy together.

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