Today, parents become increasingly worried about the growing aggressiveness of children, and this aggression is becoming increasingly difficult to restrain. One of the questions that a psychologist will ask parents whose children demonstrate aggression will be how much time per day a child spends watching television and which programs. The answers of parents are often striking: children aged 0 to 4 spend on average from 20 minutes up to 3-4 hours a day in front of the TV screen, and some parents have the TV on all day long. At the same time, the acceptable loading for this age makes maximum 1 hour of TV per day (and for children under 1.5 even less – 15-20 minutes) (Murray 1224-25). Currently, scientists are sounding the alarm: modern cartoons teach children violence and aggression starting from an early age, and do not instill in them any moral and ethical standards. Further in this paper, we will show how cartoon violence influences child psyche and how the negative effect may be eluded.
Mechanism of cartoon violence perception
Cartoons may surely be seen as a clear role model for children of different ages. Through cartoons, the ready settings and patterns are created today in children’s growing minds for the rest of their lives. Explanations in the cartoons are made in the language understandable for children, and are backed up by certain sound and color solutions. Thus, the violence seen in cartoons is eventually transferred by a child into the real life, as violence becomes the natural part of life.
According to the results of the survey conducted among children and adolescents on their favorite cartoons, the most popular scenes and feelings caused by characters and situations in those cartoons, as well as about what can be learnt from these cartoons, the modern cartoons very clearly and particularly reflect the scenes of violence: the cartoon characters beat and maim each other; the scenes of fights and battles prevail; large-scale destruction, explosions, and similar pictures are also frequent (Murray 1219-21). This is particularly clearly observed in cartoons about various superheroes, who do not behave in the best way in their free from “heroic deeds”¯ time: they are either very rich people or people with super abilities, and, in all cases, children are demonstrated that such positions can be easily achieved by luck or accidentally, or by a kind of “birth right”¯ when the character is a descendant of some powerful magicians and similar personalities (Blackledge 44).
Watching this all day long on the screen, children, especially the young ones, absorb the presented principles of cruelty, violence, irresponsibility, etc. As a result, children start to enjoy such aggression; they consider violence the best way out, without paying attention to the laws or the rules of morality and ethics (Krcmar and Vieira 275-77). Moreover, boys who are prone to violence by the mental peculiarities are especially susceptible to such influence in certain kinds of cartoons. Subsequently, the principles taken from taken cartoons have negative impact on children’s lives: on their ability and willingness to learn, communication with the peers and attitude to the elders, the opposite gender, work, etc. (Krcmar and Vieira 278).
On the other hand, the question is why children have so few choices when they turn on the TV and almost all the cartoons there somehow demonstrate violence. Here, one should look at children from the viewpoint of authors and producers for whom children are the same consumers as adults, just the target audience, in which the specific settings should be created. For example, modern cartoons are abundant in the scenes of violence, because their creators are sure that in this way they attract the attention of young viewers. Recently, however, scientists have proved that such viewpoint is wrong.