Violence in the Morning
Hostility. Murder. Revenge. Sounds like the latest horror or thriller movie, right? You may be amazed to hear that this describes the standard Saturday morning cartoon. One of the most astonishing facts is that the level of violence during Saturday morning cartoons is higher than the level of violence during prime time. There are 3 to 5 violent acts per hour in prime time, compared to 20 to 25 acts per hour on Saturday morning (according to Dr. George Gerbner at the University of Pennsylvania.) Violence on television generally is harmful to society. But the specific targeting of the younger population through the use of cartoons to show violence is destructive and in no way helping to profit the upcoming generation. Violence in cartoons is damaging to children in many ways. Desensitizing children, increasing aggressiveness, and increasing their fear of becoming victims in real life, are all accredited to violence on television.
Children’s cartoons have usually contained much violence, and this situation is something we have learned to accept as typical. Consider when the coyote chases the roadrunner and finds himself standing in midair over a deep chasm. For a second he looks pathetically at the audience; then he plunges to the ground. Or when Elmer Fudd puts his shotgun into a tree where Buggs Bunny is hiding. Buggs bends the barrel so that the gun discharges into Elmer face when he pulls the trigger. Or maybe a dog chases Woody Woodpecker into a sawmill and, unable to stop, slides into the whirling blade of a circular saw. As the scene ends, the two halves of the dog fall to the ground with a clatter.
Where these traditional cartoons depict violence as an out-of-life circumstance, newer cartoons portray it in normal life. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a good example of this. Every Saturday these turtles battle a villain that seems to have a goal upon destroying the world. Every week the plot stays essentially the same;...