Remember running back home as early as possible from school just to catch your favourite cartoon shows from the beginning of the title track? The jingles to most of these cartoons, were more soothing than any soulful music. We sang them effortlessly as we snuggled up in our couches and prepared for hours of delicious, nutrient-free television. But is that all they are?
Cartoons and animated movies have been around for ages and they have become the most popular medium of story-telling. Apart from being entertaining, these cartoons were created to keep messages light for consumption by the younger generation. They have always carried a moral value through their characters, besides having a story to tell. Morals are woven into them, so that children now get a visual aid for valuable lessons that they could garner from life.
Cartoons and animated movies often act as a value addition to teaching a lesson or two to kids with a subtle addition of morals and values incorporated in them. An image stays on a child’s mind longer and with more ease, than a page of text. Therefore as a medium, cartoons often offer a better chance of recollection by children than a story book that they read. Music, graphics and visual aids are better sources as teaching aids for kids because an image is fixated in a child’s memory to convey a message and thus are more effective.
Cartoons have incorporated values that we might or might not have noticed while watching them.
1. Beware of strangers
The Scooby Doo show taught us that it was a bad idea to trust strangers. This was a strong lesson for kids and though they were frightened into it, it also taught them about team work and how to help each other in need. Scooby and his friends stuck together through thick and thin, and protected each other in the show. Children learn a valuable lesson of teamwork and the importance of being alert with strangers and outsiders.
2. Family first
We Bare Bears teach us the value of family and friendship. The three bears being equally different from each other, never give each other up and that teaches children that irrespective of any differences, we must always support and love our siblings whole-heartedly. These values also go along with the importance of love and the need for unity within a family.
3. Be yourself, no matter how weird/different
Ben 10, a regular guy who turns into an alien at a twist of a dial, is not here to merely show off his strength and talent. He tells children that in a world of danger and evil, it is essential that one uses their best natural skill to fight against it. He needs to use his wit and shows that even an alien needs a family to save the day.
The PowerPuff girls taught us that you don’t need to be perfect to fight evil. We all have our own style at dealing with life’s troubles and we must find a way to always aim higher than before. The three little girls, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup each have their own style when it came to fighting crime and children understand that you can have different types of talents to face life’s choices and challenges.
4. Stay positive no matter how difficult life gets
Chhota Bheem, the ever-smiling hero of Dholakpur is not merely a crime fighting super boy, he also has a lesson in place -- to spread positivity. No matter how difficult life gets or what problems he might face, Bheem is never seen without a smile. With the help of his closest friends, he manages to wipe the face of evil from around them. He never gives up and teaches kids that they can always find a way out, irrespective of how tough life gets.
5. Be fearless and honest with your friend
Kris from Roll no.21, a brave and young child of his class, makes it a point to always stand for what’s right. He helps his friends and keeps them safe. Children learn that it is important to always stand up for themselves and to always be supportive of their friends.
6. Team work always triumphs
Mighty Magiswords is about the twins who fight together to complete their conquests. They use their skills hand in hand to defeat the enemy. Team work hence is the lesson here, children learn that it is the best way to win a situation.
These moral values that are incorporated in cartoons, help in childrens' development and push them to become better individuals. Parents must sit a child down and ask them what they learnt from the cartoon characters, after they watched the movie. They can discuss situations with their children and help them choose a quality they want to adopt from the character itself. Parents can also help their children understand these morals by incorporating their actions in real-life situations. It will be good to ask children how their favourite characters may react in a certain situation and how they may take a stand.