I remember racing home from school everyday to watch Scooby Doo and the mystery machine. I absolutely loved how they would fight crime and solve mysteries. As a child it taught me to be observant and that the real monsters in the end were always people.
The Flintstones and the Jetsons, two completely contrasting shows. Flintstones with the life and struggles of a Stone Age man with pet dinosaurs and animal skin clothes. While the Jetsons were the Future with their Robot housemaid, skyscraper homes, advanced aircrafts and tech.
Then there was Courage the cowardly dog. I always found the show very creepy with its dark humour and never ending villains. Courage having to save the day with the help of a talking computer that had ideas for everything. Nevertheless I had a soft spot for Courage, man’s best friend right?
My all time favourite however will always be Tom and Jerry. Even now as an adult I can watch Tom and jerry whenever wherever. My dad would watch it with me every evening. It was our thing. Cartoon Network was home back then.
That was ages ago, back when the network was under Hanna-Barbera productions. Now when I go through Cartoon Network and the recent shows airing I can’t help thinking this is so inappropriate for kids. Cartoons are suppose to teach kids things in a very subtle way not induce aggressive behaviour like the shows airing today. Some might argue that Scooby Doo and Powerpuff girls are aggressive as well. I can’t say I deny that so, I suppose to some level they were but they were also funny, creative and entertaining. Sure they had their share of violence and destruction but that feature was added in a humorous style, always ending on a happy note reassuring that nobody ever got hurt; well, at least not mortally. Everything always turned out okay. Shows these days are too graphic and violent.
Especially with the superhero cartoon trend, they make everything seem so black and white. Like the world is divided into superheroes and bad guys or that fighting fire with fire is okay and Violence is fine as long as it’s against the bad guys because they deserve it. It promotes anger and aggression in kids. Also I absolutely hate the way female, superhero or normal, figures are objectified in those outfits.
I once had to babysit a friend’s 5 year old son. And guess what he wanted to do for fun? Use me as a punching bag. He wanted me to pretend to be evil so he could fight me. ( Those punches left bruises) True story. And my nieces always wanted to play dress up or put makeup on like princesses before my sister-in-law switched them to Dora the Explorer, resulting in a very productive change.
My father used to debate how educational Disney movies were for kids. He’d say they promoted very impractical ideas and standards in girls. Far from reality; Girls always dreaming about their happy ending with a Prince Charming, pretty clothes and turning a beast or a frog into an actual prince. He always encouraged me to read books and watch more productive shows. I remember initially falling asleep in the middle of National Geographic Documentries or Discovery Channel’s How it’s made ( which is basically about how everything is made from a pencil to cars). Gradually it all piqued my interest. Obviously I never quit cartoons and I think it created a balance, kept a reality check on me. This is something I would want to teach my children as well. But that is just my family, for most families cartoons are the only visual entertainment for kids. Which is the whole point I’m trying to make.
Learning is important but kids also need fun that’s where cartoons come in. We get so focused on other things that we forget the lesson it teaches kids. Cartoons or animated movies should stimulate mental growth. Learning starts at an early age. Expensive schooling and home tuitions aren’t enough on our part. Studies all over the world have recorded increasing amount of aggression in the new generation; all thanks to the media. Those exposed to violence in an early age, are more likely to commit violence in later life. Children are the future we should be very careful about what are the teaching them.