Impact of Cartoon Characters on Children

Impact of Cartoon Characters on Children

It is well known that the first 6-8 years of children shape their minds and hence their destiny. Whatever they see, hear, absorb in this age stays with them forever and keeps manifesting somehow or the other in their thinking and behaviours. A cartoon character that is kind, soft spoken and respectful will leave a certain kind of trademark in the young mind while on the other hand a cartoon character that is rude, violent and disrespectful will leave another kind of impression on the kids mind. Isn’t this true.

For a 6-8 year old the TV series and hence the cartoon character is the only window to the outside world after family therefore he/she tends to believe it in totem and accept that as a truth. With today’s nuclear families and lack of outside playing space the screen time has increased manifold for the kids and hence the exposure to telly tube characters. At that nascent age the ability to differentiate between what is being shown and what is the reality is not there so the child will accept the character’s behavioral traits as good and then try to imitate them in his/her own life.

A few years ago there was a serial named Shaktiman that was show on TV in India. The main character in this serial was shown as a good character that helped the society in doing justice in his own way but there was one stunt of his that became quite popular. He would jump from high altitudes with his head down i.e. head first. Seeing this a lot many kids in India also copied him and as a result some of them had serious head injuries. The situation became so severe that the actor playing the lead character in the serial had to issue an appeal to the kids in the society that this particular stunt that he does on screen is not real, and therefore should not be imitated in actual life.

There are some cartoon characters that are hilarious and enjoyable, even for the adults. Look at Walt Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc. that have become house hold names all over the world and these animations are enjoyed by all age groups in every society. So as long as children are exposed to these characters and they are enjoying the various cartoons made around these characters there is no harm to the psychology of the child and in fact it is good that he/she is enjoying their hilarious and witty acts.

Parents and society in general needs to watch out what the child is exposing himself to in terms of screen times and the choice of the characters. Parents need to be aware of the ramifications a cartoon character will have on the psychology of the child. Various studies go on to prove this finding that in this age group the kind of characters seen on screens are critical to shaping the personality of the young kid. While cartoon manufacturers cannot be stopped altogether in telling them to not to make any such things but yes they also need to understand and join in this direction of not impacting the children in a violent or crude characterisation.

After seeing Cinderella and Barbie doll in the characters many girls believe that a near zero figure is the standard and they try to become the same by avoiding food and going on unnecessary diet plans with the result that in this formative ages when the need for a balanced diet is the maximum, the child’s balanced growth is impacted and this may lead to hormonal imbalance in their teenage years. Although these are positive characters, without symbolising violence and rudeness, yet the child at that tender age is unable to differentiate between reel and real lives.

Several studies have proved that parents tend to leave their kids to see TV so that they in the meanwhile are able to finish another chore or if the child is fussy about taking food then one of the incentives that is given to the child is to switch on the TV. In both the cases the parent is addicting the child to the TV and very soon if they try to break this habit it backfires and causes a rift between the two. Unaware that long time TV screen exposure is also causing damage to the tender eyes of the child the parent uses this as engagement and diverting activity.