A new study finds the toys most likely to make people feel bad about themselves and their pets are not ones made by Disney, Hasbro or Toys R Us.
The study, conducted by a team of psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that many of the toys people have come to associate with “spongebob” have no real connection to the popular animated character.
“If you’re a parent, you’ve probably seen this toy,” said senior author Sarah A. Wiedemann.
“Spongebobs are always there.”
While toys are marketed to children, Wiedems study suggests they can also be used as a source of self-esteem and self-confidence.
In the study, adults were asked to rate their own emotional and mental well-being using a scale from 1 to 10.
The researchers then asked participants to rate the toy, or an item made by the toy maker, on a scale of 1 to 5.
For instance, if a toy was rated a 2, it meant that the toy was considered to be highly effective at teaching the child about empathy.
However, a 3 was considered an average or bad toy.
“A good toy, especially a very good toy like the one above, may not be the best thing to give kids when they’re getting ready for school,” said Wiedema.
The toys that scored the highest in the survey were those made by Hasbro, Haslep, Toyo, and Funko.
“We’re finding that toys that are designed to teach empathy and social skills are more likely to be associated with positive experiences with kids,” said co-author Christopher W. Smith.
“The toys you want to keep are the ones that help you feel more connected to the world around you.”
In a follow-up study, the researchers looked at the toy that scored high on the empathy scale and found it was likely to have an effect on children’s mental health.
“Our study indicates that it’s not the toys that make us feel good, but how they’re made that really matters,” said Smith.
In another study, researchers asked a group of adult and preschoolers to identify their favorite toy.
Participants were then asked to imagine they had just played with their favorite toys.
They were also asked to choose the toy with the lowest rating.
Overall, the children chose the toy rated as the best for them.
However, the most successful toy was the toy made by a company known for creating toy robots that look like SpongeBob.
“This toy might be a lot like Spongebob but it’s made by Toyo,” said study co-authors Dr. Susan R. Johnson and Dr. James M. Littman.
Toyo is also a big player in the toy business, with more than 20 percent of the toy market in the U.S. Toyo has a market share of about $6.5 billion, with other companies like Hasbro and Warner Bros. accounting for a smaller share of the market.
According to Johnson, Toyos products are often used as part of kids’ toys.
“It’s not that we’re all that surprised by this because we know that the more children are exposed to toys, the more they have positive associations,” said Johnson.
“There’s a reason why it’s called the ‘Toy of the Century.'”
The findings are important because they indicate that kids need to have some understanding of what they’re looking at when they shop,” said Littmann.”
These findings suggest that children who are exposed early to toys that can be associated as having a positive experience can be protected from developing negative attitudes and experiences,” he said.