The Impact Of Cartoon Network On Children’S Academic Performance
The study examined the effects of cartoons on the children academic performance in Enugu East, Enugu state Nigeria. It further determined the cartoons that children watch the most, whether they watch these cartoons under the guidance of parents and the negative and positive effects of cartoons on them. The study population was children aged 6-15 in the municipality, and the simple random sampling technique was employed to sample 450 of these children for interview. Interestingly, it was found among other things that 100 percent of the respondents being the majority said that their parents do not monitor the kind of cartoons they watch. Moreover, it was recommended among other things that animation companies such as Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks should be provided tax exemptions in order to encourage them produce more cartoons that will influence children positively.
1.1 Background of the Study
Cartoons have been a part of cinema history from the time the first motion pictures were made in the late 1800s. A cartoon is a movie made by using animation instead of live actors, especially a humorous film intended for children (Thompson, 2010). Cartoons can also be described as the making of movies by filming a sequence of slightly varying drawings or models so that they appear to move and change when the sequence is shown. These are the elements that keep viewers, (mostly children) glued to their seats. Cartoons were initially so short because people would be watching these shorts in the movie theatres before their feature film. When cartoonists could put their shows on TV, they began to get longer, creating the half hour block shows that are on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel today. Also, the cartoons had to become more “family friendly” so that more people would watch their show (Kapelian, 2009).
Television shows and animated films, for over 80 years, have been entertaining the kids. Felix the Cat the first ever cartoon icon, which started its journey in 1920s. In the next 10 years, Donald duck, Mickey Mouse and Pluto was the cartoon character which are being introduce by Disney Brother’ s Cartoon Studios (Box Office Mojo, 2004). Now a day, children’s physical activities are limited by excessive watching of television. As cartoon watching is the most favorite hobby of children in their leisure time, so they like to watch the cartoons on television rather than to do any physical activity. Cartoon watching affects the attitude and behavior of kids i.e. their liking and disliking, way of talking, and behaving with other children. It also has a strong affect on their language and the way of their dressing and eating.
Cartoon Network is the most favorite cartoon channel in the world. Cartoon network started its transmission in 1992, and has gained record breaking popularity. Since August 2002, it has been watched in more than 80 million homes in United States of America and in 145 countries throughout the world. It is one of the top ad supported channels for cable television network. Cartoon Network is a 24 hours channel, broadcasting only cartoons, yet, its 68 percent audience belongs to children of the age group from 2 to 17 years, whereas, 32 percent belongs to the age group of above 18 years and adults. The children from the age group 6 to 11 are the core audience of the Cartoon Network (Stabile and Harrison, 2003). Cartoon programs contain violence as its integral part. It is noted that cartoon content is full of violence than serial plays and comedies (Potter and Warren, 1998). As a result, children are more exposed to violence showed in the cartoon program than any other television program broadcasted during prime time (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan & Signorelli, 1994).
The recurrence of the roles like Cinderella in numerous animated cartoons has led to the perception that it is an exceedingly passive character who is devoid of role model behavior; a pathetic victim who takes no action towards the fulfilment of her own dreams. There is a need for children to understand that a female character like Kim Possible from the animated cartoon series of the same name is a seeker and saviour and that she is not necessarily “un-feminine” when actively determining her own destiny. Research has indicated that television has a socializing influence on children particularly in their attitudes toward gender roles.
Cartoons send strong and compelling messages about socially approved gender roles and stereotypes that are in turn, reinforced by parents, friends, and school, contributing to the child’s sense of what it means to be male or female in that society. There is increased risk to children’s safety in many of today’s children cartoons (Kindera 2006). Cartoon characters jump, dive, and fall from very great heights and land without being harmed. For example on every episode of Looney Toons, Wylie Coyote is always trying to catch the Road Runner. And in every clip Wylie Coyote in some shape or form, seems to fall off a cliff or simply have one of his inventions go wrong and cause a massive explosion. Yet, he manages to collect his teeth, dust himself off and get up for another attempt to catch the Road Runner. This seems funny until a child thinks it is alright to imitate these deeds.
1.2 Statement of the Study
In today’s society, the prevalence of internet and television (TV) is an indisputable fact. While at the very beginning of 1980s, there were TVs only in a limited number of houses, we can now say that there are computers and internet connection available in nearly every house. As a result of these technological developments, the messages communicated from TV screens penetrate into houses and influence children, especially those in whose minds the defense mechanisms have not yet formed (Köşker, 2005). In her study, Arnas (2005) indicated that there was one TV in each house of the family in Nigeria, and about half of them have 2 and more TVs. Today, children are exposed to the effects of TV for too long within their daily lives.
Children spend much more time watching TV than participating in any other activity; Larson (2001) determined that young people in America, Europe and Eastern Asia watched TV an average of 1.5 to 2.5 hours daily. The effects of TV have been much stronger on children than on adults. This is especially true because the purposes for watching TV are different among children and adults. While adults generally watch TV for fun, children watch it for purposes of learning and recognition. Additionally, more vulnerable children try to understand the TV programs they watch and they are more influenced by them (Yavuzer 2011).
The most effective influence in the lives of children, after their parents, is TV. Cartoons are the first and most common among the types of broadcasts that children watch on TV, Cartoons have been presented to children on many channels, without recognition of their useful or harmful aspects. The ability of children to restrain their motives is very weak, so they can take the aggressive behaviors of cartoon characters as a model. Since children desire and look for power, the producer sets out from this need and creates sympathetic, strong and aggressive media heroes that can overcome every difficulty through magical and infinite powers, and solve their problems by brute force.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The general objective of this research is to investigate the impact of animated cartoons on children in Enugu between the ages of seven and eleven years.
The specific objectives are to:
- Identify the animated cartoons programmes available on television to children in Nigeria.
- Assess the viewing patterns of these animated cartoons in relation to time, duration, place, preference and days.
- Understand the perception and views held by children in relation to how they rate their popular animated cartoons as “good” or “bad” from what they see and why.
1.4 Research questions
- What are the animated cartoons programmes available on television to children in Nigeria.
- What are the viewing patterns of these animated cartoons in relation to time, duration, place, preference and days.
- What is the perception and views held by children in relation to how they rate their popular animated cartoons as “good” or “bad” from what they see and why.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it will contribute to knowledge of existing literature on animated cartoons.
Practically, the findings of the study will be relevant to education personnel that create excellence in education for early childhood centre and primary school teachers that are involved in the business of babysitting. It will also be of primary importance to families with children of school age and guardian of infants on the impacts of exposing them to TV cartoon programs.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the study.
The scope of the study covers the impact of animated cartoons on children in Enugu between the ages of seven and eleven years.
1.7 Limitations of the study.
Financial resources required in obtaining data were on the high side, considering the amount required in photocopying and transportation to various places. Also, considering the combination of both my studies and the project, time was not adequate for a more elaborate study.
1.8 Operational definition of terms.
Cartoon character: a fictional character depicted in an animated film or a comic strip.
Animated Films: are ones in which individual drawings, paintings, or illustrations are photographed frame by frame (stop-frame cinematography). Usually, each frame differs slightly from the one preceding it, giving the illusion of movement when frames are projected in rapid succession at 24 frames per second.
A cartoonist: (also comic strip creator) is a visual artist who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is often created for entertainment, political commentary, or advertising.
Broadcasting: is the simultaneous transmission of the same message to multiple recipients. In networking, broadcasting occurs when a transmitted data packet is received by all network devices.
A vulnerable child: is defined as being under the age of 18 years and currently at high risk of lacking adequate care and protection.
Movie Theater: This is a place where people go to watch films for entertainment.