Cartoon violence is the representation of violent actions involving animated characters and situations. This may include violence where a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted. Animated violence is sometimes partitioned into comedic and non-comedic cartoon violence.[1]

Influence on real-life behavior edit

Opinions on the influences of cartoon violence vary. Some researchers believe that high level of violence in cartoons can make children more aggressive.[citation needed] Their studies also found that young children tend to mimic the negative behavior they see on television. In a year, a child watching an average of 2 hours of cartoons a day will have seen 10,000 violent acts.[2] Studies have shown that watching more cartoon violence is associated with higher levels of aggression among Taiwanese children.[3] Output aimed at children as young as seven, which include a number of cartoons, had the highest levels of violence. Researchers also concluded across the early and middle childhood, laboratory experiments using cartoons with comedic violence have consistently failed to demonstrate significant differences in person-oriented aggression. In contrast, field experiments have consistently shown that aggressive behavior towards peers increases following the viewing of non-comedic violent cartoons.[1] Depending on the type of cartoon, shows with cartoon violence could influence other behaviors in young children. An example of this is shown in a study where superhero cartoons were analyzed. A common theme emerged that police were not well equipped, and it is up to the heroes to take justice into their own hands.[4] This raises concern that children may perceive this theme as the real world.

However, other researchers believe that people need to consider the ways in which children process information, the amount of mental effort they invest, and their own life experience to gain an understanding of how television violence affects children. For instance, recent research has indicated that children do not appear to mimic acts of violence in the media, whether television or cartoons.[5]

Blumberg, Bierwirth and Schwartz argue that children possess the ability to differentiate real life from animation, as well as the ability to understand right from wrong. They know that violent acts qualify as immoral and infringe on the welfare of others, therefore the violence witnessed in cartoons will register as "make believe" to children and will not be applied into their real lives.[6] Children who were affected by harmful content are often excluded from the preceding discussions. Adults create idealized opinions for the general “child” instead of basing their beliefs over the feelings and experiences of a hurt child.[7] Additionally, when trying to find how much influence a cartoon can have over the youth it is important to factor in outside influences. With technology improving the youth can now easily access the internet on a daily basis. Along with these technological improvements settings at home have changed, creating environments where often times children are left unmonitored. This adds further complications because it's hard to calculate what influencing the youth without knowing what they are consuming. [8]

Options for parents and restriction edit

There are a number of ways parents can control their children's exposure to violence. One of the most effective and common ways of prevention is restricting the number and types of programs children watch. With older children, parents might want to discuss, and explain television. This can help children to understand television material and overcome the effect TV violence has on their outlook and behaviors.[citation needed]

With parents growing concern for how much violence was being shown in cartoons, some initiatives were put into place.[9] The first is The Children's Television Act which requires broadcasters to air shows which are educational and provide information for the children. The second initiative is the V-chip legislation that gives parents the opportunity to block out violent shows from their television.[10] The third legislation against violent cartoons is the National Cable Television Association's TV Parental Guidelines, which is a system that rates the Television shows based on their contents.[11]

In action-adventure oriented cartoons, the most consistent avenue of addressing violence is the use of a form of fantasy violence in which no one is injured or killed on screen. In science fiction cartoons, for example, enemy forces are typically said to be robots so that they may be destroyed in bulk by the heroes without concern over killing living beings. In cases where vehicles are known to be piloted by living beings, tanks, aircraft, and other war vehicles that are destroyed in combat always allow time for the pilot to escape or bail out. Realistic firearms are often replaced with futuristic beam weapons which still seldom hit anyone. Swords and other bladed weapons may be prohibited from being used as offensive weapons but may be used defensively or be depicted as magical weapons. Guns are seen in 26% of violent incidents, specifically in cartoons based on real life.[12] Direct violence is frequently limited to hand to hand combat where directly kicking or punching another character may or may not be allowed. The majority of action adventure cartoons over the past decades have used these methods of depicting dynamic action scenes although their use has been heavily criticized as "sanitized violence". This type of violence refers to when minimal to no physical harm is shown, as well as little attention is paid to the long-term effects.[13] In rare circumstances where blood is shown it will be censored with different colors. Despite studies demonstrating that this television category has the most violence, many individuals do not consider sanitized cartoons to be violent.[13] Cartoons based on the Voltron, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Masters of the Universe franchises (especially the versions produced during the 1980s) are notable examples using variations on fantasy violence.[citation needed]

Earlier cartoons demonstrated that using violence was a successful method for capturing viewership. Contemporary animated shows have adopted this approach and simply elevated the levels of violence and graphic content.[14]

Victor C. Strasburger, Amy B. Jordan and Edward Donnerstein, writing in Pediatrics, say that parents should limit the total screen time for children older than two years of age to no more than one to two hours per day. Children under two years of age should avoid watching television altogether. Televisions should be kept out of children's bedrooms and parents should watch television with their children and discuss the content.[15] Saturday morning cartoons are considered the most popular time for children to witness violence on television because cartoons have more violence than comedies and dramas.[1]

Health practitioners can also play their part by taking the time to ask their young patients how much time per day they spend with entertainment media and if there is a television or computer with Internet access in their bedroom.[15] Six or more hours of TV viewing is linked to mild to severe depression levels.[16]

Another option for parents is to be involved in what media their children are consuming. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, children's total screen time should be no more than two hours. This is two hours that a parent could use to not only monitor and bond with their child, but to also control what they are watching. Publishers Jiayu Li, Xiaoli Zhang, and Qian Du did a study on children with left-behind adolescents and the aggression they have. The study showed that nearly all who were struggling with this aggression had very little if not any relationship with their father.[17] As for a mother's absence or lack of involvement in a child's life could also lead to higher levels of aggression.[18] So, depending on whether or not cartoon violence leads to higher levels of aggression can be hard to determine with the lack of a parental figure.

Effects edit

Effects of cartoon violence on youth remain controversial. Research has generally been divided on this issue with no consensus reached regarding the effects of violence on behavior.[1] One such conclusion is gender does not play a crucial role to the research. An article published by Andrew J. Weaver and his team provides data showing boys do prefer to watch cartoon violence more than girls but they still both equally enjoy them. It is also mentioned that children might just have a natural likeness to watching violence.[19] Huesmann 2007 claimed watching violent cartoons can make young children more aggressive.[20] Steuer, Applefield and Smith claim children emulate cartoon characters' activities, even when they aren't depicted as being human.[21] Bandura, Ross, and Ross 1963 point out that what might seem clearly fictional to an adult might seem real to young children.[22] Blumberg, Bierwirth and Schwartz claim the impact of exposure to violence may remain regardless of whether children choose to imitate it.[6] This impact can be harmful to a child if that form of violence was an on-screen character death. With present day cartoons having an increased rate of on-screen death, if a child is not emotionally prepared this can lead to many harmful effects. But if the subject of death is handled correctly, this can give children an early positive understanding of death.[23]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Kirsh, Steven J. (November 2006). "Cartoon violence and aggression in youth". Aggression and Violent Behavior. 11 (6): 547–557. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2005.10.002.
  2. ^ Wiegman, O.; Kuttschreuter, M.; Baarda, B. (June 1992). "A longitudinal study of the effects of television viewing on aggressive and prosocial behaviours". British Journal of Social Psychology. 31 (2): 147–164. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.1992.tb00961.x. PMID 1623368.
  3. ^ Hsieh, Hsu-Chou (1995). The Effect of Cartoon and Noncartoon Violence on Aggression by Taiwanese School Children (Thesis). pp. 12–16. OCLC 40772167.
  4. ^ Kort-Butler, Lisa (December 27, 2012). "Justice League? Depictions of Justice in Children's Superhero Cartoons".
  5. ^ Ferguson, Christopher J. (April 2011). "Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 40 (4): 377–391. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9610-x. PMID 21161351. S2CID 207206722. ProQuest 858659823.
  6. ^ a b Blumberg, Fran C.; Bierwirth, Kristen P.; Schwartz, Allison J. (October 2008). "Does Cartoon Violence Beget Aggressive Behavior in Real Life? An Opposing View". Early Childhood Education Journal. 36 (2): 101–104. doi:10.1007/s10643-008-0280-1. S2CID 144412143.
  7. ^ Lester, Catherine (2023). Watership Down: Perspectives on and Beyond Animated Violence. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 210. ISBN 978-1-5013-7696-2.
  8. ^ Hammock-Dillard, Stephanie (Spring 2011). "The Role of Violent Media Exposure on Youth Violence and Aggression" (PDF). California State University, Sacramento: 23, 24 – via Maura O'Keefe, PH. D., LCSW.
  9. ^ Peters, Kristen M.; Blumberg, Fran C. (2002). "Cartoon Violence: Is It as Detrimental to Preschoolers as We Think?". Early Childhood Education Journal. 29 (3): 143–148. doi:10.1023/A:1014576307194. S2CID 143059316.
  10. ^ "The V-Chip: Options to Restrict What Your Children Watch on TV". Federal Communications Commission. 25 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Ratings". The TV Parental Guidelines.
  12. ^ Macias, Elizabeth Cameron (2010). Cartoon violence: A comparison of past and present (Thesis).
  13. ^ a b Basore, Kathryn Ann (2008). The context of violence in children's television programs (Thesis). ProQuest 304689976.
  14. ^ Macias, Elizabeth (2010). "Cartoon violence: A comparison of past and present".
  15. ^ a b Strasburger, Victor C.; Jordan, Amy B.; Donnerstein, Edward (April 2010). "Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents". Pediatrics. 125 (4): 756–767. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-2563. PMID 20194281. S2CID 1026982.
  16. ^ Madhav, K.C.; Sherchand, Shardulendra Prasad; Sherchan, Samendra (December 2017). "Association between screen time and depression among US adults". Preventive Medicine Reports. 8: 67–71. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.08.005. PMC 5574844. PMID 28879072.
  17. ^ Li, Jiayu; Zhang, Xiaoli; Du, Qian; Zhan, Danni; Gao, Xuemei (23 February 2023). "The roles of moral sensitivity and father presence on the relationship between violent video game exposure and aggression among left-behind adolescents".
  18. ^ Georgiou, Stelios (March 1, 2008). "Bullying and victimization at school: The role of mothers".
  19. ^ Weaver, Andrew; Jensen, Jakob; Martins, Nicole; Hurley, Ryan; Wilson, Barbara (January 1, 2011). "Liking Violence and Action: An examination of Gender Differences in Childrens Processing of Animated Content". Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  20. ^ Huesmann, L. Rowell (December 2007). "The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research". Journal of Adolescent Health. 41 (6): S6–S13. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.09.005. PMC 2704015. PMID 18047947.
  21. ^ Steuer, Faye B; Applefield, James M; Smith, Rodney (June 1971). "Televised aggression and the interpersonal aggression of preschool children". Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 11 (3): 442–447. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(71)90048-8. PMID 5570452.
  22. ^ Bandura, Albert; Ross, Dorothea; Ross, Sheila A. (December 1963). "A comparative test of the status envy, social power, and secondary reinforcement theories of identificatory learning". The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 67 (6): 527–534. doi:10.1037/h0046546.
  23. ^ Colman, Ian; Kingsbury, Mila; Weeks, Murray (November 7, 2014). "Cartoons Kil: casualties in animated recreational theater in an objective observational new study of kid's introduction to loss of life". thebmj.