Cartoons are part of a child’s life. Whether watching cartoons is good or bad has been debated much as well.
One of the positive elements said about cartoons is that it helps a child learn words, especially English, at a very early age quite effortlessly. This happens when the child listens to cartoons and picks up words and phrases and repeats them.
Another positive is that many cartoons often depicting animals convey stories containing morals. This can help in the development of the child’s personality in a very positive sense.
As far as the attitude of parents is concerned, they opt for their children to watch cartoons so that they will be able to do something without children interrupting them. This is not good in the long run. Ideally, parents should make a deliberate effort to spend quality time with their children. They can play with them, go for visiting places together or even go shopping.
In other words, allowing the television and cartoons to take the role of parents spells D.A.N.G.E.R.
The danger of cartoons is that they invade every available space. Try going shopping for the needs of your children. Be it a snacks box, a pencil box, a bag or name slip, or rain coat or whatever else you can name, you get stuff with cartoon characters printed on it. Quite evidently it is a clever marketing technique employed.
Another danger is that cartoons introduce children to a world of violence at a very impressionable age. Many cartoons have violent fights. This definitely influences children. And some cartoons contain violence for which no punishment is given. Both the one who does the violence and the one who prevents it appear in all episodes. So what message does that convey about evil and violence in the real world?
Some parents have raised the concern that their children don’t listen to anything they say. But if they tell their children that this is how this particular cartoon character would like you to behave, they immediately obey. This trend is very dangerous because a child is giving more authority to a cartoon character than his or her real parents.
Again children who watch violent cartoons can easily show aggressive behaviour. They might try to imitate certain ways in which their favourite cartoon character reacts to situations. Such behaviour may not be acceptable to other children playing with them. This can cause friction and tension between children. It can become ugly if parents take sides and families get involved.
Yet another point is what cartoons do to a child’s imagination. Cartoons easily draw boundary lines in a child’s mind. A child easily thinks and acts the way his or her favourite cartoon does. It is very difficult for him or her to exercise creativity in more imaginative ways. In that sense the child is limited by the imaginativeness of the cartoons he watches.
On further thought there is the mixing up of reality and fiction. When children see cartoon characters jump from high rise buildings to the ground and suffer no harm, they can get a false notion that they too can do it and survive. Similar is the case when they see a lot of shooting and fight with lethal weapons.
And if parents watch cartoons with a very critical eye, they will see that a lot of subtle or subliminal messages about attractive dressing, boy girl relationships, supernatural and evil forces etc. are conveyed through cartoons which may not prove healthy for their children.
To conclude, let me remind that cartoons will be with us for a long time. Today’s generation grows up with images and catch phrases of cartoon characters all around them.
The challenge is whether parents will yield their moral leadership to cartoons or not. If parents can spend quality time with their children and help them discern what is good and what is bad; then there is hope for kids to have a better tomorrow.