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Transcript of The Psychological Impact of Cartoons on Children

By Daniel Schneiter The Psychological Impact of Cartoons on Children Psychological development of children 6-7 years old An In-depth look at cartoon violence. Young children at this age are still developing psychologically. These important issues will be explored and how they are effected by children's cartoons. Spongebob Squarepants Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated Phineas and Ferb Fairly Odd Parents Adventure Time Star Wars: The Clone Wars Young Justice Powerpuff Girls Samurai Jack Dexter's Laboratory Kung Fu Panda Tom and Jerry Courage the Cowardly Dog Garfield Most popular children's cartoons currently G.I. Joe Transformers The Smurfs Thundercats Spiderman and his Amazing Friends Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles He-man and the Masters of the Universe Inspector Gadget Scooby Doo Looney Tunes Duck Tales Garfield Most popular cartoons from my childhood Comparison of Old vs. New cartoons Comparing violent cartoons from 10 or 20 years ago to the cartoons which are popular now is subjective. I can only give some examples which are not true for every cartoon. My personal favorite cartoons were very violent but also unrealistic such as He-man or Transformers. The new trend in cartoons is characters which are not that different from real people. Some of the popular cartoons come from Japan which has a higher tolerance of violence than the American public. These cartoons are called anime. They are violent and even some characters die during the show. This was almost unheard of in older cartoons. Violence was also present in older cartoons but now violence is much more vivid. A perfect example is "Batman Beyond" where a villain is strangled with a pole until he went lifeless. Children's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy The effect of violence on children's behavior. How pro-social or anti-social activities in cartoons effect children. List compiled from

multiple sources e.g. Kid's Choice Award nominees, Entertainment Weekly and from parents with young children. List compiled from my personal favorite cartoons which I watched. Tom and Jerry Powerpuff Girls Old New Violence in cartoons has been present for many years but is it worse now? Can children tell the difference between fantasy and reality? According to an Iowa State University study, children identify with cartoon characters as much as with real characters. According to this study, a popular cartoon like Pokemon could have the same effect as adult programming. Parental Ratings Problems Parental ratings help parents to choose programming which is appropriate for their children. This enables them to block programs which they don't want their children to watch, therefore it is a good system. The only problem being as we have discussed before that children are effected by violence whether it is animated fantasy or with real people. The rating system differentiates fantasy violence,this is the symbol below FV, from normal violence. This gives many parents the false sense of security that what their children are watching isn't harmful to their pyschological health. The Negative Side of Cartoons While there are positives, there are also negatives of children watching cartoons. Some cartoons can reinforce anti-social behavior in children and they can bring that into a school or playground situation. The Conclusion After reviewing all of the evidence, we must conclude that cartoons can have a negative impact on children. There are consequences for children who watch all kinds of cartoons from fantasy to more realistic cartoons. They effect children by in some cases teaching anti-social behavior or reinforcing aggression. Pro-social activities in cartoons Cartoons usually have very defined character groups. The good guys and the bad guys who fight to either save or destroy the world. The evil characters want to destroy the world and they are generally not very nice to people. While the heroes are there to save the world and at the same time to be kind and helpful to others. This means that fantasy and unrealistic cartoons are not better for children to watch than a live action program. Therefore, children may not be able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. How much violence is there in cartoons? Psychologists have analyzed the levels of violence in programming aimed at adolescents and young children and the results may be shocking. They discovered that shows aimed specifically at young children have more aggressive incidents per hour than family shows intended for older teenagers. Why is this a problem for children? The biggest problem which results from this higher level of violence is that the programming is intended for children. In America, programs are also rated on their content to help parents decide what to allow their children to watch. Here are the examples of the parental guidelines for television programs. It is separated by age and also by the kind of content that is found in the show. Also, note that this is only for American television. Other countries have different systems or like the United Kingdom, they do not have this at all. "In fact, even cartoonish children's games increase aggression. Labelling certain types of media violence as 'fantasy' violence is misleading and may actually serve to increase children's access to harmful violent content by reducing parental concern." The researchers found that output aimed at children as young as seven, which included a number of cartoons, had the highest levels of violence. They recorded 26 acts of aggression an hour compared with just five in shows aimed at general audiences and nine in programmes deemed unsuitable for under-14s.

'Results indicated that there are higher levels of physical aggression in children's programmes than in programmes for general audiences,' the study said. Cartoons can help to reinforce pro-social behavior in children by showing characters being rewarded for positive behavior and punished for negative. The study, by academics at Iowa State University and published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, also found that children copied at school the verbal aggression they had seen on TV. It said: 'In addition, the effects of televised physical aggression were extensive, such that exposure to televised physical aggression was associated with a variety of negative behaviours in girls.' This anti-social behaviour included verbal and physical aggression and excluding others from friendship groups. Mukarram, 8, studying in class 2 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. Suggestions The ratings system has also failed to properly protect our children for potentially harmful material. Instead of protecting young children, it gives their parents a false sense of security. 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical fights. (Bureau of Justice, 2001) The most serious and chronic offenders often show signs of antisocial behavior as early as the preschool years. (American an Psychiatric Association, 1994) (was in Juvenile Justice Bulletin: Nov 1998 OJJDP: U.S. Department of Justice) These acts of aggression and anti-social behavior start at a very early age and continue into adulthood. Cartoons are an important factor in helping or harming healthy psychological development in young children and into the future. Research shows that patterns of aggression start to become stable and predictable by the time a child is 8 years old. -The National PTA Magazine 33 Our Children May 1999 Now That We Know the Problem. The single most important suggestion is knowledge. Parents need to educate themselves on the dangers of some cartoons. They need to realize that fantasy violence effects their children just as much as normal violence. Do not rely on television ratings when deciding what programs children can watch. Parents should watch the programs with their children and then decide if it is acceptable for them. Children's behavior patterns start from very early stages and parents need to understand this and choose cartoons accordingly. Pro-social cartoons should be promoted instead of aggressive and anti-social cartoons. Bibliography Moore, Matthew "Cartoons like Pokemon 'can make children aggressive'" Telegraph. n.p, 06 March 2009, Wednesday 22 May 2013 Rutenberg, Jim "Violence Finds a Niche in Children's Cartoons" NY Times. n.p, 28 January 2001, Wednesday 22 May 2013 Clark, Laura "Cartoon violence 'makes children more aggressive'" Daily Mail. n.p, 6 March 2009, Wednesday 22 May 2013 McLeod, S. A. Erik Erikson | Psychosocial Stages - Simply Psychology. 2008, Wednesday 22 May 2013