A few months ago when visiting a friend, I was disturbed to see her eight-year old sister making one of her Barbie dolls, in her Barbie Ferrari, run over another Barbie. When I asked why she was making her doll hurt the other doll she replied, "Because it's funny. The Coyote gets run over all the time, it's funny." I then explained to her that when cars hit people, many times the get hurt very badly.
Before one can understand how harmful cartoon violence can be to children, one must understand how easily children are exposed to cartoon violence. The average child spends twenty-eight hours each week watching television, and fifty-four percent of children have televisions in their bedrooms (Huesmann and Eron 13). These facts alone set the stage for exposure. Also, almost half of all television violence is in cartoons (14). In fact, Saturday morning cartoons alone feature thirty-two acts of violence per hour.
Considering that cartoons rarely show the long-term effects of violence and that two-thirds of cartoons portray violence in a humorous way, it is obvious that this cannot be beneficial to America's youth (Kreig 32).
Psychological studies consistently prove that cartoon violence is detrimental to children. One study shows that by three years old, children willingly watch programs made for children, such as cartoons, and will imitate something they see on television, just as they will imitate a live person (Parke and Kavanaugh 46). Since children do not process information in the same manner as adults do, they do not have the experience to judge what they see. Because children watch a great deal of television, they are very susceptible to its negative effects (Kreig 41). Another study concluded that by watching cartoons, children learn different ways of being violent, and also learn to use...