An alleged study made the rounds that said that children who watch at least thirty minutes of the popular kids show, Peppa Pig have a 56 percent higher probability of developing autism. Back in October, a website ran the story that the character of Peppa Pig somehow caused an increase the level of autism with her irreverent attitude toward authority that children replicated. The study was said to be from 2012, University of Harvard, for the record, Harvard is Harvard University.
Autism is a hot-button issue that seems to strike fear in the heart of parents everywhere. After the election, Rosie O’Donnell passed around a rumor that Barron Trump was autistic, according to the Inquisitr. The Trump family denied this, and most people, despite political party, thought that it was none of Rosie O’Donnell’s business, and she had no right to make an amateur diagnosis by looking at photos. Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell had already been feuding for years.
But it was Snopes that blew the whistle on the accusations against Peppa Pig, which were first published by Morning News USA, and picked up by several other websites. In retrospect, the article was obvious click bait, but that didn’t stop people from sharing it over and over again on Facebook, and other social media.
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The article seemed to talk about Peppa Pig as if the character was a real entity. Experts in the article claimed that Peppa suffers from superiority complex, shows inappropriate behavior, is impolite, intolerant, disrespectful, envious, arrogant, and proud.
“These are not the traits that children should emulate!”
The article seemed to suggest that autism could be caught from Peppa Pig through the television, which sounds ridiculous to most.
“They claimed that Peppa Pig is breeding disrespectful behavior among children. Besides, researchers from the University of Harvard published the result of an experiment that they conducted in 2012. It said that watching Peppa Pig was one of the main causes of autism among children. Marc Wildemberg, an epidemiologist who was the lead researcher said: ‘children exposed to at least 30 minutes a day of the show have a 56 percent higher probability of developing autism.'”
Snopes says that there are many hints in the story that were telltale signs that the whole story, including it’s alleged “research” were bogus.
“First of all, the ‘University of Harvard’ is not a real place (Harvard University is, though). Second, Harvard University has not mentioned the study on any of their web pages and a brief search of Google Scholar reveals that this is because the study itself does not exist. Third, Marc Wildemberg, who probably doesn’t exist either, has never been associated with Harvard and has no web presence to speak of.”
It was an economist that put together a theory about television causing autism, based on a correlation between rain, cable television subscriptions, and autism rates in three states, which was published in a non-peer reviewed National Bureau of Economic Research, which has been widely criticized. A Dr. Klin from Yale says the whole thing is irresponsible.
“I think this is irresponsible. We should not provide clinical advice unless there is scientific evidence to substantiate it.”
Dr. Klin also adds that the suggestion in the article that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are “rude,” is offensive.
Other sources took the initial story even further, saying that because Peppa Pig caused autism, the show had been canceled, which was also untrue, according to ITechPost. While it was possible that Peppa Pig encourages children to talk back and perhaps be sassy, that is not a credible link to autism, or any other disorder, neurological problem, or learning disability. Years ago, several parent groups believed the Fox show The Simpsons, with Bart Simpson, was causing children to misbehave. That also was untrue, but should not stop parents from being smart about what their kids are watching.
But that isn’t stopping some parents groups from saying that Peppa Pig should be taken off of television because they say it “causes bad behavior in children,” which has also not been proven. The newest series of Peppa Pig shows started again in February of 2015.
Did you ever believe that Peppa Pig caused autism?
[Featured Image by Denis Doyle/Getty Images]