Hasn’t there always been violence in cartoons? Growing up I enjoyed watching Wile E. Coyote have countless steel blocks dropped on his head or falling off cliff after cliff. Watching Jerry smash Tom’s head into a mailbox on “Tom & Jerry” always brought me to laughter. Until recently I was unaware of how violent cartoons have become.
I woke up Saturday a little earlier than normal to watch Fox’s “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”. Not only did I count some 170 acts of violence in the hour I watched, it was much more graphic and realistic than any of the cartoons that I remember. Today’s children cartoons are bringing violence to young children in a whole new way. They are much more grotesque, and the graphics are so much better that it is hard to get a clear distinction between the fantasy on the television screen, and the reality that exists outside of the television. I don’t think cartoons are getting any better at showing boys and girls that violence is not the best solution to resolving conflicts. The only thing cartoons are getting better at is the way in which they show it.
Since the early 1960s, when cartoons became an established television feature, they have been the source of two major controversies: commercialization/merchandising and violence. (museumtv.com) In 1956, researchers did a study on 24 children and the effects violent cartoons have on their behavior. “Half watched a violent episode of the cartoon Woody Woodpecker, and the other 12 watched the non-violent cartoon The Little Red Hen. During play afterwards, the researchers observed that the children who watched the violent cartoon were much more likely to hit other children and break toys.” (Research on the Effect of Media Violence) “Six years later, in 1963, professors A. Badura, D. Ross and S.A. Ross studied the effect of exposure to real-world violence, television violence, and cartoon violence. They divided 100...