Cartoon Influence on Children’s Psychology and Behavior Patterns
Cartoons as one of the core content of mass communication is increasing in today’s television programme. Currently, animated film classics and new television series can be seen on cable/satellite channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Kidsco, 4 Kids and Disney Channel. On the influence of these cartoons on children psychology and behaviour patterns the work of two co-authors was examined.
In their own findings on the work titled “Effects of cartoons on children’s psychology and Behaviour patterns”, Bibi and Zebra (2012) showed there is a wide range of cartoons from fairly tales like “Beauty and the Beast,” Barbie: Princess Charms School to action based cartoons like “Ben 10”, ‘Power Rangers’ and PJ Marks. They said that children between the ages of 6-8 have different preferences, girls usually into fairly tales and animated “Barbie” series where as boys and some of the girls still, have their favourite super man hero cartoons like “Spiderman” “Batman”, or action flicks like “Bay Blade”, Ben 10” or Power Rangers” and PJ Masks. Bibi and Zebra discovered that children at such an early developing stage considers things they watch in cartoons to be real since they are unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality and often believe that if Elmer Fudd remains unharmed after being bashed by Bugs Bunny with a hammer a number of times, so can they. They do not realize that these fantasy things have no true value and identity, that no “Spiderman” exists who will jump from top of one building to another with the help of his web, no such ‘Ben 10’ wrist watch which will start blinking and will alert Ben of every evil action before hand; That if someone is killed or beaten up by cartoons, it does not mean that kids should also start doing the same. They exemplified the above scenario with the account of Mukarran, 8, studying in primary 2 who received a warning from his school after he got caught for beating up a fellow student. When asked for explanation the child replied innocently; “I was just showing my friend one of the moves I saw in a cartoon the night before”. His family members admitted the fact that they never kept an eye on his TV activities.
Bibi and Zebra exposing the research carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric (AACAP). Children that view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see.
Bibi and Zebra exposing some behavioural influence of cartoons on children reveals the experiences of the following people: – Hassan father of two sons said; “there was a time when one of my sons began to play pranks on his little brother quite frequently, and I failed to understand the reason behind this sudden change in his behaviour, one day however I found him watching “The cramp Twins”, and I understood the reason for all this bullying”. Hassan also said that he has become conscious of cartoons that his sons watch since that time.
They shared another experience of a junior wing school teacher who when asked about children’s behavior regarding violence and physical actions commented “some students are always picking up fights in the class, one of the reasons behind this aggressive behaviour could be that they are too much influenced by violence based cartoons or other programmes which parents without any concern let them watch in excess.
Still sharing more experiences, they reveal further that children watching too much cartoons often fantasize the kind of life cartoon character are living.. They shared the views of Lizzy an exasperated mother of 7-year-old-daughter, whose daughters fixation with her favourite cartoon, “Winx Club” “creates a lot of fuss every time they go for shopping as she insists on having the same wardrobe as the characters in the ‘Winxclub’.
Also college going girl Rita, elder sister of a young kid Nelly says; “My youngest sister is really under the influence of these glamorous tales and she assumes herself to be princess who is interested in wearing strapless frocks and wants to do ball dance”. She believes that such programmes are putting a negative impression on the innocent minds of children cited in Okonkwo, 2017).
Bibi and Zebra noted on the other hand that there are lots of cartoons, which are not only the best source of entertainment for kids, but could also be used for educational purpose. For instance some cartoons like “Barney” can be used to stop some toddler from crying where as “blue Clues” or “Dora the Explorer” can be used for some brain activity making children to learn shapes and to identify colours etc. They noted the comments of one of the teachers at a local primary school who said, this “for mind building and constructive learning of children, students have a cartoon period once a week, and we try to show them standard cartoons after thorough selection so that they could drive something positive out of it”. A psychology student Rose Peters shared her views regarding this issue; “Give your children time to watch cartoons as it is the most common source for education, expose them with programmes which are appropriate as per parental guidance”.
From the findings discussed; it is evident that cartoons have a lot of influence both positive and negative on children’s behavioural pattern.
Bibi, A. & Zebra R. (2012). Effects of cartoons on children’s psychology and behavior patterns. Rawalpindi: Fatima University Press.
Okonkwo, E. (2017). Cartoon Characters Engagement Behavious Among Primary School Pupils. An unpublished Ph. D seminar paper, Department of Mass Communication,Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State, Nigeria.