Television Cartoons: An Analysis of Their Impact upon Young Children Essay

Television Cartoons: An Analysis of Their Impact upon Young Children

            Nowadays, countless television cartoons are being presented by media. The characters of these shows were even able to gain strong recognition from the viewers who are commonly children below ten years old. Apparently, these kinds of shows are being endorsed and sold for kids based on the themes, treatments, and personalities of the characters. From morning to evening, television cartoons have never failed to entertain the children and give them the best show that they expect from their favorite cartoon characters. Spongebob Squarepants and Diego are just two of the most popular cartoon characters today. These are the names that kids would easily recognize because of their unforgettable dialogues and influential behaviors to the young viewers. However, these influential names also have effects to the psychological aspects of the young viewers. Every episode that the children see onscreen may leave violence and aggression, false perceptions regarding important things, and plain consumerism of the marketers.

            The values that are learned in television cartoons and the influential behaviors of the cartoon characters have been in the heart of debate in the society. While some people say that these kinds of shows help the children to learn more about the importance of companionship and other living organisms on earth, some argue that these shows encourage the young viewers to be violent and aggressive (Naud, 2009). Moreover, the adults argue that if a certain show does not promote violence, it shows the exact opposite of the reality otherwise. In other words, the show teaches values to children in a fictional manner. These may include the scenes that do not really happen in real life but the children may imitate the actions. In Spongebob Squarepants, the characters are undeniably more aggressive than in any other television cartoons (BBC News). Even though, the show has an effective approach to entertain the viewers, the aggressive behaviors of the characters could still be seen by the audience. Many episodes portraying Spongebob being flattened and injured because of a hard spanking from one of the characters can be seen. There are also scenes where Mr. Krabs are hitting the planktons to move away from the restaurant in order to keep his secret recipe. Although, most of the scenes were created to bring fun to audience, the careless behaviors of the characters are apparent in every episode of Spongebob Squarepants. However, Spongebob Squarepants does not only being shown for the young viewers alone; in fact, the show may appear aggressive in treatment because the grownups are even encourage watching it.

One trend among cartoons that the researchers found disturbing was what might be called the ”SpongeBob” factor. Animators embed ”adult subtext” in cartoons aimed at young viewers to encourage grownups to watch along. In fact, the hit series ”SpongeBob Squarepants” was, for a time, a cult favorite among college-age adults (Barnhart, 2006).

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The adult subtext is added in order to capture the attention of young adults and watch the show. Today, either kids or grownups watch Spongebob Squarepants because of the lovable and funny image of the characters. On the other hand, Spongebob does not show plain violence to the viewers. The funny adventures of Spongebob and Patrick have always been an inspiration to the viewers to strive harder despite the lack of ability in every activity that the person wants to be done.

            Go Diego Go depicts the educational activities for the young audience. Each adventure makes the children learn how to follow to instructions that are being given to them. Children are become exposed to the world outside their homes through the images that Diego and his friends are showing on screen. Moreover, the young viewers learn the importance of lending a hand not only to other people but also to animals. However, the idea of rescuing the animals through the gadgets that the characters use in the show may be perceived by the young audience in different ways. They may view the activities of Diego and his friends as possible to be imitated like touching the wild animals, playing with them in the forest, and rely on the ability of the people and the gadgets around them. These things may sound simple; however, the young viewers easily adapt what they can see onscreen which may bring conflict in the future.

            The effects of these kinds of shows are often judged only based on the performance of the characters. The society often fails to recognize these shows as one of the factors in the constant development of products in the market. The influential demands brought by television cartoons have been neglected focusing only to the behaviors and values that the young viewers learn from the shows. Today, the marketplace is full of animated characters from different shows which have been gaining large market share. From pencils to pillows, the children can buy any product with an image of their favorite cartoon characters. The marketers have found a way to sell products to the market easily. With the use of popular cartoon characters like Spongebob and Diego, the marketers will be able to sell any item in the market. These two shows were also produced in computer games which can be used by children. Aside from the least expensive items, the market has also been loaded with high-tech gadgets that would enable them to accompany either Spongebob or Diego on their adventures.

Name of Cartoon: Spongebob Squarepants

Target Age: 6 to 18 years old

Target Group: Boys and Girls (from preschool to college)

Summary of Plot:  Spongebob Squarepants is a sea sponge, who lives under the sea together with his friends Patrick Star, Mr. Krabs, Squidward Tentacles, and Sandy Cheeks. It is a comedy animation which aims to entertain the young viewers and teach moral values at the same time. Spongebob lives in a pineapple with his snail pet Gary, goes to work as a fry cook at Mr. Krabs restaurant, and often gets into trouble with his best friend Patrick. In each episode, Spongebob has variety of stories to tell to its young viewers. The community under the sea gives ideas to the viewers about the living organisms there. Even though some elements are based on fiction, the viewers could see the creatures underwater which make them easily recognized them in reality.

Aggressive Behavior of Cartoon Characters

Character
Hitting
Punching
Zapping
Insulting
Spongebob Squarepants

/
]

/

/

/
Mr. Krabs
/
/
/
/
Prosocial Behaviors of Cartoon Characters

Character
Sharing
Explaining
Holding
Comforting
Sandy
/
/
/
/
Patrick
/
/
/
/
Name of Cartoon: Go Diego Go!

Target Age: 3 to 9 years old

Target Group: Boys and Girls (preschool to grade school)

Summary of Plot: Go Diego Go is a series of adventure stories of an eight year old hero by the name of Diego Marquez. Every episode, Diego has an animal rescue mission which should be done by the character with the help of his friends. Every task requires the character to overcome the obstacles and surpass the problems along the way which add spice to this story driven adventure. With the help of his animal friends, his high-tech gadgets, and the viewers, Diego would solve the problems and save the animals in the forest. This cartoon show requires the cooperation of the viewers because of continuous dialogue of the main character which encourages them to interact by singing, clapping, jumping, and cheering. Apparently, the show motivates the viewers to learn simple but accurate facts that the preschoolers need to know as they grow up. The recognition of animals’ habitat, appearance, and difference with other living things are few of the goals of Go Diego Go.

Aggressive Behavior of Cartoon Characters

Character
Hitting
Punching
Zapping
Insulting
The Bobo Brothers
/
/
/
/
Baby Jaguar
x
x
x
x
Prosocial Behaviors of Cartoon Characters

Character
Sharing
Explaining
Holding
Comforting
Diego
/
/
/
/
Alicia
/
/
/
/
Summary

            Television cartoons may help the children to learn specific facts about the real worlds; however, the subliminal messages of each episode should also be taken into consideration. Apparently, Spongebob Squarepants help the kids to learn how to interact with neighbors and friends, important facts about the elements under the sea, and how to forgive when somebody made them upset. Diego and his friends may teach the children how to complete tasks, develop friendship with animals, and follow rules and instructions. On the other hand, these television programs may influence the behavior of the young viewers making them aggressive and fearless of the things around them. Aside from that, these adorable cartoon characters may give opportunities to the marketers to sell products that are not really needed by the children. This fact may bring confusion to the parents and guardian if they should allow the young viewers to watch these shows, but the proper discipline would still determine the capability of the adults in letting their children grow up in proper environment which teaches the kids how to perceive the real world and blocked them from too much aggression and plain consumerism.

References

BBCNews. (2005). US Right Attacks Spongebob Video. Retrieved March 17, 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4190699.stm

Barnhart, A. (2006). Study Says Violence Still Abounds in Children’s Television. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved March 17, 2009 from http://www.commercialexploitation.org/news/tvviolencestillabounds.htm

Naud, R. (2009). Caution Needed When Allowing Kids to Watch TV. Retrieved March 17, 2009 from http://www.canada.com/sports/Caution+needed+when+allowing+kids+watch/1331738/story.html