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Effects of Cartoon on Children

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Cartoons have been a staple of childhood development since the early 20th century. Two thirds of infants and toddlers watch an average of two hours of television a day, according to a recent study. While watching cartoons, a child’s brain processes graphic images, educational information and violent acts. These brain-stimulating factors have both positive and negative effects on children’s development. Cartoons are the most frequent and easily accessible source of entertainment which we provide to our children. With the vastness of media and extension of channels, it has become easier for children to watch their favorite cartoons on a single click and at the same time it has become more convenient for parents to provide children with this all-time favorite activity of theirs. Time which was previously spent by children in outdoor activities is now replaced, as now they can be found glued to the TV sets for long hours, peering at all sorts of cartoons, mostly without the supervision of elders who are completely unaware that this might have certain effects on their psychological development later on displayed in their behavior patterns.

There is a wide range of cartoons from fairy tales like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to action-based cartoons like ‘Ben Ten’ and ‘Pokémon’. Children between the ages of 6-8 have different preferences; girls are usually into fairy tales and animated ‘Barbie’ series whereas boys and some girls even usually have their favourite super hero cartoons like ‘Spiderman’ or ‘Batman’ or action flicks like ‘Bay Blade’ or ‘Dragon Ball-z’. Children are at a stage when their minds are developing and forms impressions easily so parents need to be careful what they expose them with.

Positive effects
Learning: A positive effect of cartoons in children is its stimulation of learning. The Education Resources Information Center presented an article by Robert Gill in 2000 called “The Effects of Cartoon Characters as Motivators of Preschool Disadvantaged Children.” Gill suggests that cartoons help teachers reach curriculum goals and help preschool age children reach higher levels of learning. Gill’s research concluded that using a cartoon character in classroom material stimulates interpersonal behavior, learning and social development in children. Consistent use of the same cartoon character helps children become comfortable to express their feelings and understanding of the subject. Gill states that children who use work material with a cartoon character learn more than children using the same material without the cartoon character.

Education: According to a report titled “The Effects of Cartoon Characters as Motivators of Preschool Disadvantaged Children,” cartoon characters stimulate interpersonal behavior, learning and social growth. Children associate with cartoon characters more readily than adults in many cases and tend to retain the lessons imparted more readily. If a cartoon character conveys an educational or moral lesson, then it can help speed up the learning process in children. * Role Models: Because children identify readily with cartoon characters, such characters can be positive role models that encourage good moral behavior. Superman, for example, is honest and brave, constantly standing up for the rights of others. The characters in the “Toy Story” movies move heaven and earth for their friends, while Jimmy Neutron demonstrates the value of studying and intelligence. Even Popeye, who lives in a world where violence solves problems, can encourage children to eat their spinach. *

Negative effects Health Problems
* Children who spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the television don’t always get as much exercise as they should and thus are more likely to be overweight. Furthermore, reports from Bowling Green State University cite a detrimental effect on the brains of children who watch too many cartoons, including children developing attention deficit disorder and, in one infamous case of the “Pokemon” show in Japan, seizures. Regardless of the effects, children must have a balanced lifestyle that includes exercise and outdoor activity. Violence

* Many cartoons depict scenes of violence or danger, yet whitewash the effects of that violence. For instance, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle may beat up a bad guy in one scene, only to see that bad guy appear unharmed in the next scene. Without proper lessons to counterbalance those effects, children may grow up aggressive and eager to engage in violence — unaware that the real world contains far more consequences than what a TV show depicts. Injury

In 2004, Dr. Ruebert Saturnine III presented an argument on the negative effects of cartoons on children for the Animation World Network, Inc. One of Saturnine’s criticisms focused on copycat incidents where children injured themselves by trying to imitate fictional characters. The first case of a cartoon-related lawsuit occurred in 1928, when a small boy, Dickie Johnson, took his family’s yacht out on a lake as he tried to replicate a cartoon sea captain. Dickie crashed the boat and his family filed a case against Walt Disney on charges of corrupting a minor. During the trial, Dickie testified and stated, “I thought if a lowly, common mouse could drive a boat, surely I could, too.” Saturnine stated that cases of cartoon-related injuries increased steadily each year after the Dickie Johnson incident. Because children are unable to make the distinction between reality and fiction, they cause harm to themselves by imitating what they see in cartoons. * Mental and Psychological Effects of Children’s Cartoons a child watches television, nearly 18,000 hours (from the time school is started to the time of graduation.

The amount of television that is watched by a child will have an effect on their brain, emotions and their sense to feel pain.. This has become a public health .the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in February of 1985,informing broadcasters and the public about the dangers violence on the television has on children. Three major effects have been proven by psychological research caused by children seeing violence on television are that the child may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others; children who watch violence do not fear violence nor are they bothered by violence in general and the children are more likely to become aggressive or use harmful actions towards others. When we are born we have the capacity for motivation, experience, and training, and because of this our minds are very impressionable. Therefore, our brains’ development is a dynamic mix of nature and nurture, so it is important to choose a healthy environment for all children. This means cartoons with violence will be unhealthy for a child because in general, being interactive with any environment enhances the development of a successful brain.

As a result, a tremendous amount of childhood involvement with electronic media can limit social interaction and may obstruct the development of a brain’s social systems Increased Risk in Child Safety: Today in many children’s cartoon’s you see cartoon characters jumping, diving, and falling from very high heights, then landing without being harmed. Parents seem to be happy with this as along as the cartoon doesn’t promote sex or any kind of violence. But, are these type of cartoon really ok for your children to watch? At a young age, this false sense of reality can really affect them. That’s why the false sense of reality that cartoons show may in encourage children to try things that they see their favorite super hero do. In some cases TV has also been linked to causing seizures. “Either high-speed flashes of light or rapid color changes are thought able to induce seizures in vulnerable individuals.” “Rapid changing stimuli can play havoc with the special cells in the retina called rods and cones that help the eye transmit visual information to the brain.” So just because the cartoons your children are watching don’t show sex or violence doesn’t mean that they are innocent. Because of this false sense of reality children at a young age can’t tell the difference between cartoons and realism.

Visual and Auditory Subliminal Messaging in Children’s Cartoons: Ever since the advent of television and radio, subliminal messaging has had a place in both advertising and programming. It is defined as, “Below the threshold of conscious perception; inadequate to produce conscious awareness but able to evoke a response” (AHD, 1352). What this means in the world of mass media is advertisers and programmers are slipping in messages that you act upon and don’t even realize that you are doing it. And they are also doing it to children. Many acts of accused subliminal messaging are easily explained by a simple coincidence. Such as the infamous Disney stories, when in the 1990’s, conservative Christian groups such as the American Life League accused the children’s entertainment giant of placing subliminal messages of a sexual nature in its films. The use of subliminal messages such as these has been almost eliminated because technology has advanced to where home viewers are now able to search what they are watching frame by frame. Animators are now cautious not to put such blatant images in cartoons.

Whether or not subliminal messages still exist is known only by those who put them there. Since we are not meant to know, will we ever know if we and children are being brainwashed? When children watch cartoons, they always pay attention to what is being said. In a child’s subconscious mind, he or she is exposed to auditory subliminal messages that they may never discover, but they will eventually become a part of their lives. Not all auditory subliminal messaging is negative. However, most of these messages have a negative effect on children. The interesting thing about the situation is that these messages are most common in popular cartoons. SpongeBob Squarepants has been on the air since 1999 on Nickelodeon & still remains popular. The main allegation against SpongeBob Squarepants is its use of metaphors in place of profanity. When he is disappointed, SpongeBob will often yell out “Tartar Sauce”. To an adult ear, that phrase may sound like it is intended to represent a curse word. People who create popular cartoons are careful to not allow any vulgar content to be incorporated into their cartoons. However, every cartoon can’t be made perfectly safe for viewing by children and some of the verbal content may be mistaken for auditory subliminal messages.

Marketing Practices of Companies that produce Children’s Cartoons: Children tend to trust adults even when they shouldn’t. So, when a spokesperson for a product encourages the child to purchase a product, they will. Marketers are fully aware of this piece of information and take complete advantage of it. “If you tell kids to buy something, they are resistant. But if you tell them that they’ll be a dork if they don’t, you’ve got their attention.” says Nancy Shalek, president of Shalek Agency. Marketing Companies can open up emotional vulnerabilities, and it’s very easy to do with kids because they are emotionally vulnerable. Cartoon companies are the most common companies that are tapping into this new trend. It is literally impossible to walk into any store today and not see any licensed cartoon merchandise. From playing cards to toothpaste, these companies have covered every angle possible.

By doing this it makes it impossible for a child to walk into a store and not want a specific item. Cartoon companies are also known to advertise their object in between television shows. The commercials are designed to have the child infatuated with the object and wanting it as soon as possible. With such devises these companies are using today, it is quite understandable why these companies bring in billions of dollars a year. CoNcLuSiOn: In conclusion, watching cartoons is already a habit for most children, and it will be a part of their lives. Parents should think about how to prevent their children from the bad effects of cartoons. First of all, parents should spend time with their kids as much as they can. If they do not have enough time to spend with their children, they should know that what kind of cartoons their children watch everyday. If parents think that the cartoon is not appropriate for their child, they should not allow them to watch that cartoon anymore, and instead, let them read books and play other games, and it should prevent these three bad effects like brain, eye and emotional damages, or imitations from violent cartoons.

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