Cartoons are mostly 2d animations made from drawing characters and making those characters move in a designed environment in a story of a motion picture. These days, cartoons are mostly made for the entertainment of children mainly. With the element of exaggeration found in these cartoon, children become enthusiastic to watch them and as a result of these, the cartoon comes to have an effect on the child’s life.

According to a report “The Effects of Cartoon Characters as Motivators of Preschool Disadvantaged Children”, children tend to develop interpersonal behavior, social growth, and learning based on characters in cartoons. (Gill). Furthermore, some of these children get attached to cartoons to the extent that they associate more with cartoon characters more than they do with grown-ups.

     Background to the Study

The term Violence simply means to cause intentional harm or hurt someone or something physically. Depending on the context which the word is used, the fundamental concept of inflicting hurt intentionally is what violence is all about. From the dictionary, violence is defined as a behavior involving force physically, with the intention of damaging, hurting, or killing a thing or person.

Cartoons are generally exaggerated drawings of a subject. The inception of cartoons dates back to the 18th century in Italy. This was derived from the concept of caricature which means a drawing that adds or exaggerate its subject anyhow. Caricature was derived from the “caricature” which denotes exaggeration. (Harry)

Content containing violence can be found in cartoons since from its inception. From the early day of cartoons when it was just a single frame drawing, the aim was to portray what was going on in the society in an exaggerative way. Cartoonist used this medium to draw and give their opinion on what was happening in their societies. Some of these drawings had the elements of violence in them because, at that period of time, there was a lot of tension in Europe.

From a single frame caricature, cartoons have evolved from single drawings in a frame. Eventually, these drawings found its way to appearing in newspapers and magazines through the 1900’s. (Harry)

In the late 20th century, cartoon started to become popular for the element of humor and exaggeration. Additionally, in the 20th century a breakthrough in the world of animation and cartoons. The first motion picture of cartoon was created in 1908 by a French director and cartoonist Émile Cohl titled Fantasmagorie. (Haward)

     Statement of the Problem

Basically, children start to watch cartoons from when they are babies; few months after they were given birth to. As children continue to grow and develop, they get attached to anything that can display cartoons for them to watch. With this action, the drawn motion pictures start to influence and affect children in different ways. Children’s development socially and way of thinking come to be influenced by what they watch.

The portrayal on violence in cartoons has been an issue for a long time and somehow parents or guardians feel is safe and ok for their child to watch these cartoons with violence in its contents. Knowingly or unknowingly, these cartoons start to affect children based on how they think and also how they interpret the contents in the cartoons. Although not all cartoons

contain violent contents in them, the element of violence is found in some cartoons from the inception of cartoons in the 18th century.

Though cartoon is an exaggeration of its characters in drawing and motion picture with humor, this does not make the violence portrayed in it any less violent. Violence is violence and no matter how its tweaked and exaggerated with humor it is still violence so far it involves the use of force intentionally to harm someone or something. Some parents are care free of the contents shown in the cartoons their children watch on the television. Ironically, children are not allowed to watch movies that contain violence but, contrary to them watching cartoon with or without violence. Tom and Jerry for example is a cartoon that a lot of children watch worldwide and it contains violence. Despite the exaggeration and humor added to this cartoon, it doesn’t change the violent scenes included in the cartoon.

By watching cartoons, children tend to relate what they watch to their reality. Their way of thinking comes to be influenced by what they watch. Depending on the way of thinking of the child, cartoons influences in a negative or positive way and it come to be among the deciding factors of how children perceive reality. (James)

As the years progressed, DSTV has rolled out a few improvements and adjustments so as to decrease the issue of brutal substance in toons and kids. These progressions and adjustment are the parental guardians for the channels they have, parental control to bolt channels that are not age fitting for kids, and giving numerous cartoon channels. Despite the fact that those measures have been set up to handle the issue, the strategies have not been insufficient as we will see further in this study as a result on lack of knowledge and negligence. This conclusion was made based on the responses from the surveys distributed in the course of this study.

     Objective of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

  • To improve the endeavors of giving children a proper upbringing.
  • To draw attention to the portrayal of violent content in cartoons.
  • To improve the filtering of cartoons children, watch.
  • To find out the extent parents have knowledge about the violent content found in some cartoons

     Research Question

The portrayal of violent content in cartoons has been prevalent and has raised eyebrows. This issue has invoked questions and controversies. This study aims to look at the following questions:

  1. Does the violent content portrayed in cartoons contribute or have an influence on physical and aggressive behavior of children?
  2. Are cartoons with violent content and actions are deemed more interesting than cartoons without?

     Significance of the Study

Today in our societies, the internet and the television are virtually everywhere and almost in every house. Due to this advancement in technology, contents and messages passed through thesis medium influences children. These influences come to affect a child a way of thinking one way or the other ranging from how developed the defense mechanism is on the child’s mind.

With this technological advancement, all kind of contents is made available to every person including children. Hence it is important to monitor and know the kind of content children are being exposed to. This is to help draw attention to the portrayal of violent content in cartoons and also try to improve on filtering the cartoons children have access to.

This study has significance also to:

Parents: the study will be relevant to parents in the sense that they will pay attention to what children watch on the television and also to improve the filtering process of the cartoon children watch.

Government: Government will be able to make policy statements and regulations to service providers in regards to the kind of information that will be shown on satellite stations  through The Nigerian Communications Commission.

Teachers: this has significance to the teachers in the sense that they will be able to advice and recommend what their pupils watch based on their behaviors hence they will be able to advice the parents on what their children should watch.