Cartoons: Negative impact on the young mind.

In recent years the television has been described as a “third parent”. Due to the ease of care, parents have been leaving their children in front of the television to keep them busy whilst they attend to other business. One of the main programming options for these children are cartoons. Often seen as child friendly, the negative effects of these programs have often been overlooked. During their formative years, children are prone to be influenced both positively and negatively by whatever they are exposed to and over the years, research has clearly shown that cartoons have had significant negative effects on children. Extracted from onkids/gallery-cl1-066856.html.  Cartoon programming has been seen to have underlying themes of violence, racism, sexism and providing poor role models for children. Being exposed to these factors from a young age can have detrimental effects on their development. This article thus seeks to point out some of these negative effects of cartoons.

Sexism in cartoons is an evil that has pervaded society and impacted the thought patterns of many generations. This phenomenon, while often unintentional and based off societal norms, is at times a deliberate effort to undermine one sex or the other – more often than not, the female sex.

“It would seem that this is the result of a pervasive culture of misogyny dribbling its muck from the very top of the media ranks. It’s been revealed, for instance, that the head honchos at Cartoon Network told a children’s show creator that female characters need to be “one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.”

         (Gloudeman, 2014)                                     

This statement, harsh as it is, is the truth the fictional society has become accustomed to, and portrays every chance they get. Studies have shown, according to Tarek Soliman and Khalid Habib, that children watch approximately 18000 hours of television from kindergarten to their graduation (Open journal of social sciences, 2015).  For the average person, the things they are exposed to have profound effects on their characters and behaviors. These children watching sexist cartoons or television programs, are exposed to a biased system of thinking and grow up with the flawed opinion that one sex is better than the other.

In addition, another effect cartoon violence has on the young impressionable minds of children is that it makes them prone to aggressive reactions and violent behavior. In other words, scenes from shows like Tom and Jerry, Pokémon and Samurai jack tend to affect children more in a negative way, making them believe in things like revenge and aggressive behavior. According to a study (Negative Impacts of Cartoons), “Kids absorb these scenes like a sponge and accept violence as something quite normal and common. Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see” (2014).  The long term effect creates a new age of young minds that see violence as the only method of problem resolution. This eventually results in a more hostile world for human beings: peaceful or aggressive.

Children inevitably idolize some of the characters they are exposed to and this can potentially result in dangerous situations. According to Chinese news sources (, a four-year old boy died in 2011 after jumping from the fourth floor of a building with his arms stretched out. This young lad here trying to fly like Superman, his role model fell to his death when things didn’t go exactly as he would have liked. Kids hold these superhero characters in such high esteem that these characters are taking the place of human role models. True, Superman teaches qualities like kindness and standing for what is right, but the real question is whether kids that young understand the difference between reality and fiction. Though we are old enough to know that we cannot fly like Superman, unfortunately, a four-year-old does not know this yet.

In conclusion, children in their formative years are impressionable and television programs particularly cartoons have underlying themes that can affect their development. Repeated exposure to themes such as violence and sexism negatively affect the way in which they think and behave and these behaviors carry on to adulthood which could make them poor functioning members of society.




Boy dies after trying to fly like Superman|Society| (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2016, from

Gloudeman, N. (2014). Why Children’s Cartoons Have a Sexism Problem. Retrieved from

Negative Impacts of Cartoons. (2014, January 20). Retrieved November 8, 2016, from

Soliman, T. & Habib, K. (2015). Cartoons’ effect in changing children mental response and behaviour: Open journal of social sciences. Retrieved November 9 2016 from:


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