“I was in Starbucks and the person in front of me said: “Can I have a tall, skinny, black Americano please?” I said: “Are you ordering coffee or voting in the US elections?””—Michael McIntyre (comedian)
The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function
The fast-paced television group watched a truncated episode of a very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea. The educational television group watched a truncated episode of a realistic Public Broadcasting Service cartoon about a typical US preschool-aged boy. Free drawing with markers and crayons was the control condition.
This study provides empirical evidence that watching a 9-minute episode of a fast-paced television cartoon immediately impaired young children’s EF (executive function) relative to watching an educational television show or drawing. Children in the fast-paced television group scored significantly worse than the others despite being equal in attention at the outset, as indicated by parent report.