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Cartoons & Their Influence

By Clive Periera

What a child watches in a cartoon has a great influence on their behaviour; it’s a sort of “monkey see monkey do” situation.
Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology”- John Tudor 
With the century of technology upon us the way we used to live our lives is changing. Instead of the passing of time by indulging in outdoor or even indoor activities which are not technology related we are constantly turning towards technology to entertain us or keep us busy. And this is beginning at a very young age. Children, rather infants, as young as a year old are glued on to the television and even have their favourite programs. They do not understand much of what is going on, but are mesmerized by the character movements in all sorts of pretty colours. Believe it or not but this is having children addicted to television before they can even walk. I don’t want to play the blame game but parents are using television as a distraction for their children so that they can get in a little “me time”. It is not wrong to want some time to yourself but it has become a convenience to turn your child towards the television in order to distract them for a while, and boy do they get distracted. You can find some children looking so intently at the television as if in a state of trance. They are even oblivious to you shouting out their names, and in order to get a reaction you have to end up switching off the TV or blocking their view. Sometimes you wonder if the cartoons are ridden with subliminal messages which hypnotize them completely.
Children are more influenced by behaviour acted then preached
 It is important to see the influence which television has on the young mind. Staring mindlessly at the television screen for hours on end is just one of the influences it has. In some way it is robbing children from being children. Don’t get me wrong, television is not all that bad when it is in moderation and the programs watched are being monitored. On that note let us talk about cartoon content. A child’s mind is like a sponge it soaks up all which it is exposed to.  The content in a cartoon has a great influence on a child’s behaviour. Violence in cartoons not only teaches a child what violence is but also normalises it to appear like a part of everyday life and something which is practiced. In some extreme cases it can even desensitise a child to violence which is not a trait you want your child to grow up with. There have been many studies which have been conducted which prove that violence in cartoons has an influence on children’s minds. In one such study there were two groups of children. One group was exposed to a violent carton while another was exposed to a cartoon rid of any form of violence. Upon watching the program the children were left to interact with one another. The results were shocking but proved a point. The group exposed to the violent cartoon behaved in a rather harsh manner some even indulging in full blown fighting. On the other hand the group exposed to the pleasant cartoon were interacting without any scuffles. What this case study showed is a clear influence of cartoons on the young mind. Some more serious instances are where children believe that they have the ability to perform tasks just like super heroes do on the television or fight like the Looney Toons and throw objects at one another. To you and me this may seem ridiculous, but with the increased violence in cartoons nowadays it is what children start to believe.  
There’s more...

Aside from violence in cartoons and its influence on children’s behaviour there is also the matter of the physical harm. Staring into a TV for hours together is going to create a strain on a child’s eyes and mind. The constant glare from a screen can cause a hindrance to a child’s vision and will end up in them having to wear glasses.  

Because we are at a stage where television is an important factor in our day to day lives we cannot bar children from watching cartoons, although what we can do is impart the knowledge that a cartoon is make believe an monitor what they are viewing. Distracting them with other activities be it sports or creative is a more pro-active approach to them passing their time.   

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Clive Pereira
Interested in adventure sports and experiencing urban culture


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