ROLE OF CARTOON: A BRIEF DISCUSSION ON HOW CARTOON PUT AN IMPACT ON CHILDREN
Cartoon films a 15 to 20 minute show contains a small context of story full of animated talking animals, birds, furniture, cars or humans teach us how to fight in life, how to laugh, how to compromise in life, how to grow up as an individual. Thus reminds us a quotation of cartoon character Winnie the Pooh,“Sometimes the smallest things can take up the most room in your heart.” People may grow up as the time passes by but the image of cartoon helping one to grow remains till the last day of life. Maybe that is why cartoon is the first best friend one can have in their childhood. Cartoons have their place in people’s heart especially in children’s heart. Most of the child spends their time sitting in front of the TV set watching cartoon as it is easy to understand, fun to watch. For the reason cartoon has become significant part of children. Statistics shows from infants to 2.5 years old children are consider as a regular viewer of cartoon ( Aliyeve ). Parents are always relying on cartoon for their child. At present a child depends on the educations from cartoons rather than reading from book because they use the colorful things to remember. In addition, studies show many parents especially working parents feel comfortable putting their children in front of TV set for cartoon so that they could finish their chores, while feeding their child or for making their children busy for a while so that they can relax for a bit. Gradually this makes children dependent on cartoons for their daily task like eating, sleeping, doing homework for school. For this reason, later parents as well as children finds themselves in a difficult situation to cope up the real contest of life. It is found that now many children refused to eat without watching cartoon. Parents at present days had to bribe their child only to eat or to study in exchange of letting them watch cartoon. This condition has changed parents and children just like “Tom & Jerry” where both of them are continuously chasing one each. Even some parents are negotiating with their child to do homework or clean up in exchange of cartoon which a child is taking as what he has to do to watch TV not for his own will power. On the other hand, parents are happy because they don’t have to yell the child as they have encouraged the kid with the help of cartoon (Rochman). Despite of all these facts, a number of people agreed cartoon is the best entertainment for children throughout decades. No matter what are the characters say or do, most people feel that certain animated figure is good for children. But they fail to be aware of a fact which is not proper for an innocent mind presented in various ways. People may argue cartoon is harmless and totally appropriate for learning in an enjoyable way. But there are some factors shown in cartoon that tends to develop negative impact in a child’s unconscious mind. Parents think their child will understand inappropriate scenes when they will reach in a certain age. But it is proved that with the help of cognitive ability a child can memorizes any type of image. They might think a 2 years old wouldn’t follow any adult show which is the other way around. “When you think no one is really watching, someone is watching, and it’s your child”( Brown). As a result they begin to practice those without even knowing consequences. Besides all these other factors, Psychologists and Doctors are blaming cartoons for child’s psychological depression, sleep problems and physical injury of children. And it is also proved that there are some aspects which are partially responsible for child’s psychological obstruction and physical injuries caused by watching various types of cartoon. Children of Bangladesh are also dealing with various impacts of cartoon just like other children over the world. They are becoming unaware of the negative aspects of cartoon films. Since the objective of this paper is to track the reasons that is ratting cartoon on a negative scale, I am doing survey and interviewed different groups with different age limits. Due to time limitation the survey and interview was conducted on a limited number of people. The idea of this paper is to reflect on all the drawbacks of children which are blamed as negative impression both in mentally and psychologically, socially, physically as well. The explanation that stands behind choosing this topic is to make parents as well people of all age aware of this since many of them lacks unawareness of the disapproving content shown in cartoon. Moreover, this paper will contain how children are pushing themselves unconsciously by practicing these contexts. Though many researchers have talked about this issue but a very few were able to make consciousness among people which is the ultimate target of this paper. In the second chapter of this thesis I shall explore the current debate on cartoon through s review of literature. In the third chapter, I shall explain my data collection process, while I shall analyze the data in the fourth chapter. The final chapter, I shall conclude with my observations and recommendations on the impact of cartoon on children.
Cartoon has taken a significant part in both children and parent’s life as both of them enjoys it. With the cuteness, funny approach, adorable looks etc. of the cartoon characters are making themselves more close to the viewers both adult and children. Studies have shown infants aged 18 months and older starts to show interest towards television and later within 2.5 years they have become an “active viewers”( Aliyeva ). For both viewers cartoon is the most required TV show. Most people consider cartoon as it has suitable, educational and proper context for children of any age. Cartoons like “Barney & Friends”, “Meena” etc. are the perfect example of famous and suitable show for children. With the thought of cartoon being harmless parents rely on cartoon shows without even checking the context of it. But most of them failed to understand the fact of cartoon may contain some in appropriate perspective towards life as so on. Moreover these perspectives are also influencing children easily as they are taking in those contexts from their very childhood. These hidden effects of cartoon are putting danger in life. Statistics of different survey done for different websites have shown children are getting hurt by physically, struggling in their psychologically, socially, academically life. According to blog writer Idalia Benavides parents are indirectly putting their children in danger which might effect in their mental development. She even pointed out some major points that might have holding back the kids for mental growth. In addition Aynur Aliyeva wrote in her article, children are following the violence which is presented slightly in a funny way. Cartoons such as “Tom & Jerry”, “Ben 10”, “Batman”, “Scooby doo”, “Oggy and The Cockroaches” etc. are stands for their violent scenes. In these cartoons continuously shows gun fire, explosions, beating one other, jumping from high places, running in the streets etc. which actually unsafe for an innocent mind. As a result, many children are physically hurt by breaking arms, legs and get the idea of beating or killing someone is a very normal thing to do. Furthermore Aliyeva mention some of risky behavior of smoking, drinking, drug abuse, calling names etc. that is easily take in by the children while parents are wondering from where did the child learns this. Children are also becoming less sensitive, disobedient to all, impatient in life. In the article from Dawn.Com, the writer refers to three psychological challenges children are struggling with due to cartoon. Such as children becoming less sensitive about violence issues, they started not to bother violence or they find hard to face violence in general. They are also coping some disrespectful habits such as eye-rolling, rumor-spreading, racism, inappropriate language as well as behavior towards others ( Zahid ). Based on the article published in “MailOnline”, some psychologist claimed cartoons such as “Mickey Mouse”, “Winnie the Pooh”, “The Lion King” may stands as bad example as animals do not talk or work like humans does. In addition, in cartoon animal characters can be friendly but in reality it is the other way around which gives the wrong message to children. So there might be a possibility of getting hurt from animals since children thinks of animal as their “bestfriend”( Reilly ). Superheros like Superman, Batman, X-man, Spiderman are blamed for putting high expectations on child’s mind, evolving the idea of fighting crime is only for police or death is permanent which sometimes discourages children to lead life with courage( Lorelli ). On the other hand, parents are also held responsible for their incautiousness whereas they should supervise what type of cartoons or TV shows their children should watch. Moreover they are also blamed for letting the child watch cartoon form of TV shows such as “The Simpsons”, “South Park”, “Family Guy” just because they are animated which is actually for adults only.
The intention of this research paper is to put light on how cartoon can be unsafe to children based on some major perspective in Bangladeshi context. Due to limitation of time, survey questions and interview has to conduct among few numbers of people. Survey question was performed among 40 people and interview was taken among 20 people. For survey questions, among all respondents 37 people responses and 15 people were willing to attend the interview. In the survey questions and interview the respondents were asked questions related to their opinion of cartoon and what are their responses about cartoon having negative aspect. Almost all the respondents agreed cartoon as a very much fun, friendly TV show and one of the best entertainment for children if it is educative. It is found that only 16% people things cartoon only contains negative content and 14% remains neutral. It is also found 30% people noticed only few cartoon contains educational context where they are relying on cartoon. The survey question also reveals most of the people do not believe cartoon is blamed for putting negative images in children mind. It is established 51% do not believe cartoons such as Dragon Ball Z, Ben 10, ScoobyDoo, Power Ranger etc. cartoon is responsible for violence whereas 38% agreed these shows are not be appropriate for young mind. In addition, 51% agreed Superman, Spiderman, batman etc. should not be responsible for motivate children to jump from high place whereas 16% agreed these superhero’s are to be blamed. Fictional characters that have super power such as Barbie, Tinker Bell are not responsible for hampering children’s psychological behavior was agreed by 51% people and 35% people agreed to this point. 76% approved “Tom & Jerry” is not helping children to understand it is normal to beat someone whereas 16% agreed with this. Moreover, only 54% approved that cartoon shows such as “The Simpsons”, “South Park”, “Family Guy” is for adult only and 27% were neutral as they does not know the content of these shows. In addition, according to interview, most people think cartoons that show sexual messages indirect or directly can be a threat for early ages. Moreover, these cartoons are not suitable for Bangladesh such as Johnny Bravo. Aggressive behavior, brain damage etc are responsible for watching too much cartoon approved by 57%, 35% disagreed with them. Furthermore, 57% people agreed that cartoon is making hard to differentiate between real and fantasy world for children where 32% disagreed. From the findings of the interview, people want to approve those realistic cartoons such as “Meena” rather than “Power Puff Girl”. Besides, parents are finding as guilty for letting their children psychologically and physically injured in the influence of cartoon is 42% and 36% disagreed with the others. And from interview, people think parents should check the content of cartoon before letting their children watch the show.
After collecting all the responses from survey question and interview it is found that cartoon is liked by almost every person, only a few disagreed about liking cartoon as the survey question was meant for personal opinion. Cartoon is essential for mental growth for a child; a response of a respondent from interview. To every respondent, cartoon is the best way of entertainment for children but they also agreed the fact cartoon is should not be the only source of entertainment. They have also mentioned the limitation of entertainment in city life which makes city children watch excessive amount of cartoon shows. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the factors that are considered as negative influences on children which are leading them in danger gradually. In that note 70% people thinks that cartoon do not contain negative context that can be harmful. And 14% remains neutral as they never thought of the idea cartoon having negative perspective for children. And these negative factors are putting an impact on children in psychologically, physically, socially and academically also. According to the critics and the researchers who have worked on this topic before, they all have agreed on these factors being negative to young minds. As this issue is quite new to Bangladesh, most of the people especially parents are unaware of this matter. While the doing research it is found that only some people especially young generation knows about the inappropriate scenes, dialogues eic. that are shown in cartoon. The reason that cartoon is blamed for is showing violence such as gunshot, explosion, murder, beating up each other etc. even though these are shown in a funny way so that children can laugh about it. According to the survey data, 38% agreed with cartoon like Scooby-Doo, Power Puff Girls, Ben 10, Dragon Ball Z should not be board cast as these shows violence, gunshot, explosion frequently. 51% respondents disagreed with the question. Because they think that cartoon is not responsible for showing violence and the scenes that contain violence, gunshot, explosions are not meant to be for real life. As it these are shown in a funny way, children would not follow this further in life. And the remaining 11% respondents were neutral since they did not know about these cartoons content till this survey. The reason behind their disagreement is unconsciousness. As it is mentioned earlier in the paper these research topic is new for this country, most people are unaware of this subject and the consequences. These gunshots, explosion may screen in a hilarious way but later children tend to apply that in real life. It is found that influence of cartoon characters are the result of violence done by children. Children are learning from their favorite cartoon character handling guns like toys, shooting people, lighting up fire etc. these actions can be dangerous to anyone as well as to children. Young students are caught beating other student in school. Parents may think it is because of bad influences of other child but to that child, he was just showing a move that he learnt from cartoon (Bibi, Zehra ). In addition, use of guns and explosions are partially responsible for gunshots in schools in different countries. Furthermore, 51% people agreed with the matter of children jumping from higher places pretending as their favorite superhero such as Spiderman, Superman, Batman and breaking their arms, legs, in some case severely injured should not be the role model for a child. Whereas 16% disagreed with this term and 32% were neutral. Since Bangladeshi parents are happy with this superhero cartoon as it shows how to fight crime, beating up bad guys etc and nor promoting sexual context, they tend to ignore the factor where their child is picking up elements of committing violence by their own hand. And later when the child get injured by practicing this parents are taking this as an accident. Cartoon like “Tom & Jerry” was taken off air in some countries as this often shows characters are using guns, different dangerous tools to chase each other and beating up like nothing is happened( Aliyeva ). Only 16% agreed with this matter and 76% people disagreed that this famous, funny cartoon is only for fun for children, these does not promote violence that can harm children. For Bangladesh “Tom & Jerry” is the first cartoon that a child starts to watch as an entertainment. Since to all a cat is chasing a rat is quite normal and funny it is ok to let the child watch this. Not only children, still now “Tom & Jerry” is pretty popular among adult. People are consciously ignoring the violence present in this cartoon and only taking the fun out of it but for a young boy he could have taken both. Besides, 57% agreed that watching excessive cartoon can be harmful for eyes, brains also. Children lack physical exercise as they are refusing to play outside where they can have entertainment while watching cartoons at home. As a result they are becoming fat and unhealthy. Another reason that makes cartoon responsible for negative aspect is psychological impact on children. Cartoon showing violence is making children less sensitive about life, about violence issue. Either they started not to bother violence issues or they find hard to face violence later in life( Zahid ). They are also becoming less sensitive of another person’s sufferings. Also children are following violence in life. Moreover, it is found that 57% people agreed that children are lacking the idea of the basic differences between real world and fantasy world because cartoon. They also feel that cartoon should be more realistic than fictional so that they can relate with the reality of life. They have also agreed with the term of cartoon being fictional, only that helps to build the creativity. Though 51% does not think that the fictional powers that cartoon characters like “Tinker Bell”,” Barbie” etc. have such as supernatural powers, magic imitate young girls in life. This may cause depression as well as psychological effect on children as they believed they are also born with superpowers. Not only that, cartoon are gradually making children inactive both in academic and social life. Children are not willing take part in any social event; they are becoming shy as they spent most time in front of TV set whereas they should be playing other child in outside. They are also acquiring some risky behavior such as smoking, drinking, rumor spreading, name calling, eye rolling, inappropriate attitude towards adults, racism, sexual context from cartoon like “Johnny Bravo”, “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy” which is actually for adult viewers. In Bangladesh parents only think that any animated character is suitable for their children and with that thought many of them does not know these cartoons have adult context, not for children. So, only 19% said that they do not know these cartoon contains these features that is harmful for a child‘s mentality. And 27% remains neutral as they are unaware of this. Along with this, some cartoon has some inappropriate language use such as “that sucks”, “stupid” that children are learning from the show. These languages they are practicing both in personal life and in school papers without even knowing the consequences. Parents and teachers especially in Bangladesh take this as a funny situation which should have change.
According to the perspective of Bangladesh, most parents, people do not get the idea of cartoon having hidden negative aspects as this matter is newly raised. As cartoon is crucial for the mental growth for a child so parents should check the cartoon content before letting their child to watch. They should avoid those cartoons that can be inappropriate for the child; they can make sure whether the cartoon is age appropriate for the child. And if there is a scene of violence or any disturbing scene that can be harmful they should explain the scene in a funny way so that the child can only take the fun, not the harmful element from that cartoon. The cartoons that are board cast in TV channels are mostly USA based. So parents can make sure their children are watching cartoons with Bangladeshi culture such as “Meena”, “Sisimpur” etc. board casting in TV channels along with other cartoons. Moreover, they should spend more time with their children doing something innovative so that the child would not be dependent on cartoon for entertainment.
To conclude we can say that cartoon having both positive and negative sides are most famous and popular entertainment for all ages people. Though the people of Bangladesh are quite unaware of the negative aspects of cartoon which is harmful to children should take this issue seriously. They should take safety measures for the children so that the children can live a healthy, risk-free life.