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Hidden effects of cartoons

on little spectators
By Aynur Aliyeva
Cartoons are the most popular entretainment for children. Currently there are plenty of
TV channels that broadcast different cartoons for children non-stop. Whereas previously
children spent their time in outdoor activities playing with their peers and enjoying
different games, now they prefer watching their favorite characters on TV and get stuck
in front of TV sets at home for long hours.
Children have grown much more interested in cartoons in recent years and it has
become the main pastime for them. Mostly children begin watching cartoons on
television at the early age of six months, and by the age of two or three children become
enthusiastic viewers.
In fact, watching TV in moderation can be a good thing: preschoolers can get help
learning the alphabet on public television, schoolkids can learn about wildlife on nature
shows, and parents can keep up with current events by watching evening news. No
doubt about it, television can be an excellent educator and entertainer. But despite its
advantages, too much television can be detrimental: children who consistently spend
more than 4 hours a day watching TV are more likely to be overweight. Kids who see
violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior and also may fear that the
world is scary and that something bad will happen to them. TV characters often display
risky behavior, such as smoking and drinking, and may also reinforce gender-role and
racial stereotypes.
How do cartoons influence the psychology of kids? How does this colorful entertainment
pose a threat to children? Unfortunately, it should be admitted that this has become a
great psychological problem nowadays. Usually children watch television too much,
which makes them addicted. For long hours children spend time in front of the

television. They watch cartoons even when they eat, because some parents believe it
gets easier to feed babies watching television.
Psychologists emphasize the negative impacts of cartoons on children. According to
their conclusions, kids who watch cartoons 3-4 hours a day are prone to violence.
Moreover, marginalization of cognitive functions, divergence from realities, and an
increase of negative behavior might develop over the course of time.
According to studies, infants aged 18 months and older begin to take short-term interest
in television. However, after 30 months (2.5 years) they might be called active 'viewers'.
They gain the ability to imitate behavior and events that they come across every day.
So, we can surely affirm that colorful characters from 'innocent' cartoons may turn into
role models that impact a child's psychological state.
Television begins to play a more important role for 3-6 year-old children. Little viewers
not only watch television like before but also start to 'apprehend' what they see and
obtain information. Parents actually often are not aware of the severity of the situation .
They choose an easy way to entertain their kids when they are busy with domestic
affairs or daily chores. Without the supervision of their parents children tend to watch
cartoons all day long. Adults may be completely unaware that this might have a certain
impact on the child's psychological development.
Experts conclude that kids who watch cartoons full of violence tend to be nervous,
agressive and belligerent. Moreover, these children are impatient and disobedient.
There are three main effects of cartoons that concern violence on children: a) they
become insensitive to others' pains and sorrow, b) children do not feel discomfort from
any elements of violence around them in real life, c) children are prone to agressive
reactions and violent behavior.
A lot of cartoons that children watch include violence. So, kids acquire ferocity from their
funny friends by subliminal perception. For example, 'Tom and Jerry', where a cat and a
mouse chase each other. It would be beter to inform people why this cartoon has a

Tom and Jerry is a very popular cartoon. Tom and Jerry are fictional characters; Jerry is
very clever and Tom is a little bit of a fool. In this cartoon both of them fight with different
tools, which seems funny. But it is dangerous for a child because at this age children
learn those activities from cartoons and want to use them in real life.
But the cartoons' negative impact can spoil our children. Cartoons continue to play an
important role in popular culture and have a magnificent future. In the 1970s several
classic cartoons were censored when broadcast on television because they were
considered a bad influence on children. For example, Tom and Jerry was taken off air in
some countries because the cartoon often showed explosions, gunshots, physical
deformations and weapons.
Cartoon characters however always survive these actions which, in the eyes of critics, is
an unrealistic message to children who might believe that when you hurt or kill someone
he or she would remain unharmed. It encourages aggressiveness and anti-social
behavior, makes children less sensitive to violence and to victims of violence, and
increases their appetite for more violence in entertainment and in real life. Cartoon
violence is damaging to the children because they cannot tell the difference between
real life and fiction.
Today in many cartoons you see its characters jumping, diving, and falling from 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.
Television has long been criticized for influencing children. People complain that certain
TV shows and cartoons have negative effects on their children. The American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
(AACAP) both believe that TV does influence the behavior of children as young as one
year old.
"Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or
unpunished are more likely to imitate what they see," AACAP says.

This speaks to the impressionable minds of children, who are still learning control of
their minds and bodies, and are likely to mimic what they see. AACAP also stresses the
need for parents to keep a close eye on what their children watch. "Parents must be
there," AACAP said.
Parents must explain that the cartoon character or actor that was shot has not been
harmed, but would actually be seriously injured or die in real life. They should also work
to tell their children that violent behavior is not the best course of action to resolve a
To make cartoons a healthy entertainment and a good and effective source of learning
for children parents should pay more attention to providing selected cartoons to their
children which could have a positive impact on them. Parents must control the time
children spend watching TV. They can choose appropriate cartoons for their children. It
would be better if parents also regularly watch and discuss the characters of cartoons
with children. This way they will not only keep their kids away from violence but also
direct them to different activities.
Let's protect our children from the negative impact of the media! Because healthy
children mean a healty future!