Children are usually born with innocent minds and purity personified. This makes them to compare to a piece of paper, which everyone that passes by leaves a lasting impression. They have minds not marred by thoughts and practices that are corrupt. This makes children vulnerable since they are ready to any manner of influence. In addition, children posses aptitude for motivation, training, and experience because their minds are impressionable thus alluding to the fact that they are a product of nature and nurture. This is the main reason why children need a healthy environment for development. Research alludes that children between six months to thirteen years undergo a variety of physical and emotional stages of development. The children’s minds are impeccable between theses ages, and external stimuli play a big role when it comes to their personalities. External stimuli comprise of the fabricated environment, social factors and other physical surroundings.
Watching cartoons is also part of the external stimuli in a child’s life. The directors and creators of these cartoons argue that they provide entertainment and education to children. This means they have a lot of influence on children’s nurturing, and that is why some research took place to determine the effects of cartoons on children. It is evident that cartoons have negative impacts on children, since those who spent too much time watching them end up mimicking aggressive behaviour, become socially isolated, and are likely to develop mental and emotional problem. This paper explores the effects associated to children who spend too much time watching cartoons.
The first effect associated with too much cartoon watching by children is the mental and psychological effects. The cartoons affect children mentally and psychologically since it presents to them content not suitable for their age. The first mental issue is that cartoons make children to spend many hours watching them. This is a problem since it makes children hate other significant things in their lives such as attending school, as they will consider it as a punishment because they do not enjoy it as if they enjoy watching cartoons. Since the child watches many cartoons, they will have an effect on his brain in the form of his emotions and sense to feel pain.
Therefore, this results to aggressive behaviour by children as they develop a sense that they are impervious to pain. Research proves this point as it asserts that a child’s violence behaviour is influenced by the shows they watch that contain a lot of violence. American Psychological Association drew three conclusions on the emotional and mental effect of cartoon watching by children. Firstly, they assert that the children become less sensitive to pain and the pain of others. Secondly, the children become prone to violence, as they do not fear violence, and lastly, children who watch cartoons with violent scenes more likely become aggressive and employ harmful actions towards others (Kirsh, 48).
Secondly, cartoons make children to mimic the actions of their super heroes or favourite cartoon actors. This impacts significantly on the child’s psychological growth, as a child will not learn to be himself. Therefore, research alludes that cartoon watching changes the behaviour or characteristics of children and sometimes makes them not act normally, as expected of them. A detrimental issue associated with children mimicking cartoon characters is the fact that they end experimenting dangerous stunts that are impossible (Valkenburg, 92). These include children jumping from high roofs attempting to fly like the characters they viewed on television and unbecoming behaviour such as truancy.
The third effect associated with cartoon watching is lowered academic performance. Neuroscientists argue that cartoon watching lowers the academic performance of children since their brain is impressionable. Therefore, a child who watches too many cartoons and spends less time studying will fail academically because television substitutes for reading practice. In addition, the Neuroscientists claim that the inducement of the visual nature of the stimulus will block the development of the left-hemisphere language circuitry.
They sum up by asserting that since children have a young brain, it is difficult for them to divide attention and listen carefully to language (Magazines, 53). In addition, cartoon watching impacts on their studies because messages are shot at the viewer like a rifle one needs time to interpret, but since children lack patience, they end misinterpreting some messages an effect that is passed on to their education. The fastness of information relayed by cartoons makes children to be accustomed to receiving messages at a faster rate, in return, they tend to develop disinterest in information that is methodological and detailed.
Fourthly, cartoon watching affects children through the controversial messages relayed through them visually. There is an argument based on the subliminal nature of the messages conveyed through the cartoons. Such controversial messages include violence and sexual topics. According to research, the inclusion of sexual topics in cartoons is done secretly with the intention of making a conscious minds not to be able to decipher what is been relayed. However, such messages have propagated the subconscious mind to behave in the way they have been relayed, and this is detrimental to children.
Since children learn such messages from cartoons, they get involved in immoral behaviours at a tender age, as the messages relayed evoke response in them (Gunter, Oates and Blades, 117). For instance, In the Lion King Cartoon, Simba falls down on the ground and flying dust spells out the word S-E-X. Although some people consider this message as an accident, other it still sends the wrong information to children who think hard to establish the context of that word in relation to the event in the movie.
Another issue related to the effects of cartoon watching is the auditory subliminal messaging. Auditory subliminal messaging is same as visual subliminal messaging only that the latter makes use of audio to relay information that is detrimental to children. The use of euphemism and metaphors is what is condemned essentially. Many cartoons employ the use metaphors with the intention of censoring the intended meaning, but children are also intelligent, and with time are able to decipher the meaning intended by those metaphors.
These messages are not supposed to be relayed to children, as they are young to be introduced to such ideas (Kirsh, 87). For instance, SpongeBob Square pants cartoon earns criticism most for its employment of metaphors in place of profanity. Cartoons such as “Rugrats” seem to be sex driven since a character in the show go by the name of “pickles” a signifier of the male genitalia. Lesbianism also features in the “Rugrat” cartoon, and that topic is not necessary for children.
Cartoon watching leads to social isolation. Many children who like watching cartoons tend to form a certain bond with them. This bond is explained in terms of addiction, and the child avoids going out to interact with other people or his fellow peers as he finds happiness in watching cartoons. According to psychologists, this behavior is detrimental to the child’s health. People learn essential lessons such as socialization while they are still young. This means that if children spend a lot of time watching cartoons, they do miss this lesson and have trouble in associating with others.
In addition, by coming isolated, children lack experience of expressing themselves, which is a characteristic of people who are suicidal. By watching cartoons and becoming isolated, the child might miss a development period in his life and continue behaving like a child when one is grown up, because the visual images of cartoons tend to stick on their minds (Gunter and Furnham, 76). Psychologists advice that people should take some time out of their daily schedules to interact with others, as humans are social animals, and it helps to develop their self-esteem.
In conclusion, since children tend to learn much from their external stimuli, the adults present should be keen on the environment that their children develop. This is because the minds of children are impressionable, and store a lot of information that they come across. Watching cartoon forms part of the external stimuli that need regulation from the parents or guardians. They should regulate watching of cartoons because they influence the children in different ways. For instance, some cartoons promote violence, and children like aping such acts, which result to injuries. Other cartoons convey visual or audio subliminal messages, which children comprehend with time and engage in them, as they evoke response.
Some psychological and mental effects also result from cartoon watching. Research establishes three psychological and mental effects associated with cartoons, and they include less sensitiveness to pain, prone to violence, and aggressiveness. Cartoon watching also results in lowered academic performance, as children are used to messages relayed faster and so lack patience for messages that are detailed and methodological. Therefore, certain measures need to taken to reduce the effects of cartoons on children. These include, parents should regulate the time spend on watching cartoons by their children, watching a cartoon program to determine if it is fit for the child to watch, and lastly, supervising the watching of cartoons through providing explanations related to the events in the cartoons.