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Cartoons’ influence in our kids

How do your children cartoon heros influence them.

There is a defensive tendency on the part of many parents, to consider that cartoons “have nothing wrong” and to assume that “they are supervised by a team of specialized psychologists and screenwriters,” and that therefore they lack any danger for their children. However, practice shows that violence in cartoons (as in many television shows a child should never see) is as frequent as it is worrisome.

Excessive time of the child before the TV screen or computer monitor can teach you that the way to solve specific problems in real life is to do things as they act superheroes and those fantastic performances that the child assimilated as superpowers. It looks cute even when a child jumps in a Spiderman bouncer, acting like a hero.

The identification with protagonists of the drawings leads to a mimicry that impels them, no longer to dress as their referents (pajamas, costumes …) but to act under the slogan of “what my hero can do I can also do it.” The Spiderman bouncer for a birthday party, for example, can’t go without a Spiderman costume.

Harmful cartoons?

How do your children cartoon heros influence them.
How do your children cartoon heros influence them.

Recent studies show that the average time that Spanish children – between four and twelve years old – spend in front of a television is two and a half hours a day. In other countries like the USA, the figure is even more alarming since it fluctuates between three and four hours. While there is no consensus about the time a child can watch cartoons (or television in general) without causing harm, ideally it should never exceed sixty minutes a day.

Excessive exposure to watching cartoons can be a source of anxiety in the child, reduce their creative capacity, encourage aggression and encourage them to look for emotions and sensations potentially dangerous for their physical integrity and mental health.

Emotionally, what reaches the child through the screen are usually not positive and productive sensations (despite the apparent gratification that enjoy them with the adventures of their heroes), but rather feelings of the grief or anger, intense about all when an episode ends and the child is forced to return to the reality and face his daily obligations.

It is very likely that when a child sees too much television in their home environment, it is hard for them to interact with their classmates at school and that they present learning problems, because the hours dedicated to watching television are subtracted from those of reading, the study or any other activity that exercises the mind and creativity.

The cartoons predispose to a cognitive passivity that diminishes the ability to concentrate and incorporate new contents into the knowledge baggage of the child. It is the role of parents to monitor and reduce the time the child is in front of the screen, encouraging them to undertake less passive activities and internalize that the characters they admire are not real beings.

Developing empathy

Cartoons can help build understanding in children as well as make it difficult for them to grow in real contexts, but it is also possible that the opposite is true. Everything will be in function of which the type of drawings that are offered to the child (the theme of the story, the dynamics of the interrelation between the protagonists …) are suitable or not for their age group and, in general, for a child.

Children begin to develop their empathic capacity very early, and this can be much more truthful and spontaneous than in most adults. It is heartwarming to see the image of a two-year-old girl crying inconsolably at the sight of cartoons in which Alvin’s Chipettes and the Chipmunks take care of a small penguin who has lost his parents.

More or less at the age of the girl who appears on video (about two years) is when the children begin to develop the ability to tune emotionally with others (i.e., empathy), a mainly emotion-based on the self-awareness. In these cases, the children can express crying reactions due to empathic anguish, while in two years old what is usually manifested is crying through contagion when seeing another child cry.

A story plot that emotionally encourages a response of empathic crying does not have to be harmful to the child, however, forcing the child’s sensibility beyond the limit of suffering could be cruel and not contribute anything positive to the evolution of their affectivity.