Cartoons and Mental Health of Children
By Ama H. Vanniarachchy
We all love cartoons. Most of us grew up watching cartoons. Some of the cartoons we watched as children are still loved by us and some of us still watch these cartoons. They are fun, relaxing, educational, and creative.
Although cartoons are loved by adults, they are mainly intended for children. Most of the cartoons are created for the mind of the child.
However, some child psychologists are of the view that cartoons are not healthy for the child’s mental health. This cannot be applied to all cartoons as many cartoons are greatly beneficial for the child’s mental health. Also, as a generation that grew up watching cartoons, there is a lot that we learned through them. It is the responsibility of the parents and adults to choose the right cartoon for their children, instead of letting them watch whatever cartoon is telecast on the TV. Parents should also watch them along with the children and try to explain certain things to the children in the cartoon. They also should know how to choose age-appropriate cartoons for their children.
Why should you let your child watch cartoons and what are the mental health benefits of cartoons and how can they help children? How to know which cartoon is appropriate for your child?
Let us find out.
Boost creativity and imagination
Cartoons are creative works. They are illustrations animated with music and dialogues. The characters and stories are creative, imaginary ones. By watching these cartoons children’s creativity boosts. They learn about colours, shapes, and perspective. They learn about creating characters, sometimes mythological. This greatly boosts their imagination. Children imagine these characters and incidents in their heads and create more in their heads.
Understand real-world problems in a creative way and children are exposed to the reality of society through cartoons. Children are not yet exposed to the real world. They are protected. But through cartoons, they experience the real world. They meet characters and go to places that they cannot do in real life through cartoons. They also learn real-world problems through cartoons.
Learn sympathy and compassion towards nature
Cartoons teach children about compassion and sympathy. They learn that the world they live in is a larger place and there are many beings along with them. These cartoons teach children to be kind and considerate about others; living and nonliving things. Especially as animals are the main characters in many of these cartoons, children develop kindness and friendliness towards animals. In a world where we ill-treat animals, this may help us have humans who are kind towards animals.
Learn that they share the world
Through cartoons, children learn that they live in a bigger world, and share it with many living and nonliving things. In today’s world, many people are selfish and self-centred. Many are narcissists. Good cartoons teach children that they should be kind and learn about sharing.
Learn diversity of human beings and animals
People discriminate and humiliate others based on their physical abilities, mental conditions, social status, and religion, culture, gender, etc. Among the many reasons people do this is that people do not understand the diversity of society. The other reason is that people do not feel how others feel. When children are taught at a very young age about diversity and about how others feel, they naturally become kind and understanding.
Many good cartoons are educational. They teach children about geography, history, culture, science, nature, and animals.
Improving language skills
Watching cartoons helps children improve their vocabulary and learn languages. This also helps children’s speech and speaking skills.
Cartoons are also entertaining and relaxing. Allowing your child to watch a cartoon after homework, or helping with housework, could be a reward for the child.
This does not mean that any cartoon is fine. Some cartoons are not good for the child’s mind. Parents, teachers or adults should be careful to choose the right cartoon for the child.
Choose age-appropriate cartoons. Consider the illustrations, characters, and the theme and storyline. Do not opt for cartoons that have violent and aggressive characters and incidents. The illustrations should be beautifully done and not weird characters. Also, make sure they have good morals in them.