Parents' Guide to

SpongeBob SquarePants

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Edgy, frenetic animated comedy highlights friendship, fun.

SpongeBob SquarePants Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 216 parent reviews

age 5+

Entertaining and funny!

I am an adult, but this is a kids-aimed show that I still enjoy! Whenever I am feeling anxious or I need something light to watch, this is my go-to show that I can make me laugh and I enjoy every minute of it! It does earn the TV-Y7 rating, though, but I think if you think your 5- or 6-year-old kid is mature enough to see it, then let them enjoy the jokes and comedy in every minute of the show! It does have some name-calling and taunting that parents with young kids must be aware of, but there is no strong profanity in the series. Other than that, characters like SpongeBob and Patrick do not use their common sense as much as they should, but they are never mean to those around them. I would say that SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy are the positive role models in the series because they are nice and caring. Meanwhile, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton are examples of characters who do NOT set a good example for behavior, since they represent behavior including bad mood, greed, and stealing. Squidward is always in a bad mood and annoyed with SpongeBob and Patrick. Mr. Krabs is very greedy and frugal and would not even give a penny to anyone in need. Plankton is the main antagonist whose goal is to steal the formula for the Krabby Patty, the signature entree at the Krusty Krab, the restaurant managed and owned by Mr. Krabs. These characters are not to be followed when it comes to behavior. But make sure your kids know that the good role models are SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy. I recommend it to all audiences except for infants and toddlers. I will always love and appreciate this show for what it is and how many years it has been made.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
4 people found this helpful.
age 7+

Edgy cartoon, like Family Guy for 6 year olds.

Parents need to know that SpongeBob has poor positive choices and there is plenty of adult jokes, including one penis joke. Glimpses of naked butts are visible in some episodes. Language includes "idiot" "stupid" and "Holy Krabby Patties". There are plenty of SpongeBob dismemberments and cartoony injuries and explosions. There is also a character called Mr. Crabs (Mr. Krabs) who has an unhealthy obsession with money. This show might make toddlers and preschoolers get brainwashed; the unrealistic durability of SpongeBob is one of the main reasons.
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (216 ):
Kids say (916 ):

This show is sweet, well-intentioned, and full of zany humor and silly scenes that will appeal to many viewers. It also offers plenty of positive messages about friendship, hard work, and loyalty. SpongeBob is yellow, porous, and perpetually happy, and he'd likely be called a kitchen sponge more often than a sea sponge, but there's no doubt that he's one of the sea's most famous residents. Since the cheery fellow's debut in 1999, this cartoon series has earned a spot at the top of Nickelodeon's ratings chart and maintains a huge fan following that includes kids and adults.

But some aspects of SpongeBob SquarePants will leave parents wanting to preview the series before letting their kids watch. Characters often speak sarcastically and act rudely to each other -- and, unlike in real life, no one seems bothered by the mean-spirited things that are said. What's more, situations are often resolved with violence, and the frequent songs sometimes touch on iffy subject matter such as bombs and making fun of people. The fast pace of the show also might be a concern for parents, especially those of younger kids. Parents also might be put off by SpongeBob's often annoying personality and his tendency to take jokes too far, but the messages of friendship always shine through the silliness.

TV Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate