Cartoons have become a vital part of every child’s life, and they grow up enjoying the varieties of animated films they can access. Other than general entertainment, cartoons have several effects on development of children. As a media mentor, knowing the impact of cartoons on development of children is helpful when recommending cartoons to children and their families.

The first objective of this articles analysis is to determine how cartoons impact early start of learning in children. The knowledge is essential for selection of cartoon categories that help children to acquire basic understanding of aspects.

Secondly, this evaluation investigates how cartoon programs improve language learning. Here, language learning includes understanding of the concerned culture and religion.

Thirdly, the analysis examines effect of cartoon programs on children’s food choices and preferences. The other objective is to uncover the forms of negative influences that could result from watching cartoons. Understanding of children’s ability to distinguish fantasy from real life events is also important to a media mentor.


1. Borzekowski, D.L.G. (2018)

Borzekowski’s article emphasises the importance of educational media on enhancing school readiness among young children that belong to low- and medium-income communities. In particular, the author pointed out that educational television offers substantial knowledge to children whose families lack access to educational resources. With a focus on 568 children from Tanzania, Borzekowski investigated the differences in effects of exposing children to a locally-produced educational series (Akili and Me) versus other cartoon programs. After a month of exposure to Akili and Me series, outcome showed that children had better skills in English, counting, drawing, number recognition, and knowledge of shapes. The findings confirmed that locally-produced educational programs are essential for the vulnerable children.


The article highlights the importance of media intervention in school readiness, and shows that it could have either positive or negative impact.  Although Borzekowski’s study promotes exposure to educational television, the author notes that effect on young children varies with place where the production of the educational content happened. In other words, children are more attached to locally-produced educational cartoon series. The findings serve as informative guide that educators must consider when selecting or recommending media interventions that target school readiness. Again, the article solves a major problem that parents may encounter when adopting educational media. Borzekowski noted that the low- and medium income households are often incapable of providing adequate educational media options to their young children. Media mentors should advice such households to focus on educational media that broadcast locally-made cartoon series, for best results.


2. Blumberg, F. C., Bierwirth, K. P., & Schwartz, A. J. (2008)

Cartoons are among the genres that children begin to recognise earliest in their lives. Parents, therefore, worry that their young ones will try the violent and aggressive actions that they watch on cartoons. Blumberg and colleagues, however, report that children could be less likely to copy the violent behaviour they watch on television because their understanding of the content in cartoons is limited.

The authors added that sophistication of moral reasoning in children also minimises the chances of emulating violent activities of cartoon characters. That is, when children understand that the violence of cartoon’s comic aspects on television is immoral, they may not want to behave in a similar way. Additionally, the article indicates that children’s ability to distinguish reality from make-believe has the potential to reduce the negative impact.

The article shows the need for parents and early childhood educators to collaborate and make informed decisions regarding what they allow the children to view on television. As it is, children younger than five years tend to think that what they watch on television is the reality. Preventing children of such ages from watching violent cartoon characters may prove effective in avoiding negative behaviour. Generally, parents and early childhood educators should be cautious with the types of cartoons they allow the children to view.

Although children aged five and above may have refined understanding of television reality concepts, constant exposure to violent cartoons could result in formation of aggressive thoughts or feelings and negative behaviours. Teaching children on morality and helping them to distinguish right from wrong actions could also help children to recognise immoral behaviour in violent cartoon programs and reduce chances of emulation of negative conduct.


3. Zia, A., Naz, I., & Munir, M. (2017)

When children watch cartoons, their minds and personality get influenced that the content they view. Eventually, the young children begin to copy what they are shown on television. Indian cartoon channels understand the ability of cartoons to educate and shape the personality of children, and have utilised cartoons to promote Hindi culture, language, and religion. As a result, Hinduism has significant influence on Pakistani society and culture. Basing on Social Learning Theory Zia and colleagues examined the impact of watching Hindi language cartoons on religious understanding of Pakistani children, who are originally Muslims.

The study concentrated on Lahore, where 200 children of ages five to seven were sampled. These class 1 to 3 children viewed specific cartoons using cable television. Findings showed that a higher proportion of the Pakistani children viewed the Hindi language cartoons regularly and had even grasped concepts of beliefs and values of the Hindu religion. Additionally, the content of Hindi cartoons impacted the children’s Islamic values, ethics, and beliefs.

The article discusses that children’s personality is influenced by the content they view on television. Watching religion-based cartoons are, thus, effective in promoting children’s understanding of the differences in religions. However, educators must be cautious when exposing children to content that focuses on a religion that is different from their own to avoid diverting the young ones from the religious perspectives held by their families. Educators could also encourage parents to expose children more to cartoon channels that promote the family’s religious beliefs, so they can clearly tell the difference between the practices of their religion from others.


4. Gonçalves, S., Ferreira, R., Conceição, E. M, Silva, C., Machado, P. P., Boyland, E., & Vaz, A. (2018)

Similar to food advertisements on television, media characters in cartoons have a direct influence on nutritional preferences, patterns of consumption, food choices, and understanding of relationship of diet and health. With this knowledge base, Gonçalves and colleagues investigated if broadcasting of cartoon programs whose content promote healthy eating could positively affect children so that they make positive food preferences and choices.

Their experimental study targeted children, aged 4 to 8 years, from four Portuguese elementary schools. Researchers exposed 73 out of the 142 selected students to cartoons on topics other than food while the remaining 69 viewed cartoons on healthy eating. On concluding the viewing, children got the chance to eat ad libitum based on selected snack foods. Researchers used Leeds Food Preference Checklist to determine the number of healthy and unhealthy food items that the children selected. Findings showed that children from experimental group had better ability to select healthy food than the others from comparison group.


The article sheds light on the fact that educators and parents could use cartoons with messages on healthy food to improve healthy food choices among children. The reason is that children show more willingness to try food categories shown in their popular cartoons. Additionally, food choices and preferences are developed through exposure as well as associative and social learning. This implies that teachers and parents should also encourage children to try out the food items they watch on targeted cartoons. On the same note, educators and parents should minimise children’s exposure to cartoon programs that promote unhealthy foods.


5. Fonts, G., Callan, M., Piasentin, K., & Lawson, A. (2006)

Scholars believe that children acquire evil traits, and begin to call others ‘evil’, from interactions with peers or parents and possibly from exposure to cartoon media. Fonts and others conducted a preliminary research to examine prevalence of demonising traits in cartoon characters modelled by Walt Disney Company and other popular cartoon channels.

After analysing the use of words referring to evil, the researchers found that 74% out of 34 feature films by Walt Disney Company used words such as wicked, monster, and devil when referring to persons. The findings provide evidence of modelling of demonisation by different characters and repetition of the same in various Disney movies. Again, 44% of the 41 after-school cartoons had evil references. The popularity of the digital versatile discs (DVDs) increase chances that children will play their after-school cartoons.

The article encourages the understanding that repeated exposure to demonising films and movie content is the cause for acquisition the associated labels and stereotypes. The outcome is imitation of the same and application to refer to individuals observed to engage in inappropriate behaviour, in real-life. Children that watch the modelled demonising traits may end up alienating themselves from others and may not even pay attention to the situational aspects that resulted in the observed behaviour.

This means that there will be less focus on remedying the ‘bad’ behaviour. Again, the children may decide to emulate the ‘evil’ characters. If this happens, a child’s self-esteem and self-conceptualisation suffers and long-term development is negatively affected. Lastly, repeated exposure to the wicked or demonic cartoon characters could cause nightmares or even make the children to perceive the word as an evil and dangerous place.  


6. Li, Yuanhua, Wang, Yifang, Chen, Xiaoyan, Li, Su, & Zhang, Leimao (2021)

In children’s world reality and fantasy co-exist, as animals talk and humans possess superpowers. Fantasy nurtures creativity and imagination in the young ones, but children’s cognition may suffer if they cannot separate reality from fantasy. Impairment of execution function of the children and imitation of the imaginary events may result from the cognitive failure. Li and colleagues found the need to investigate the ability of children to distinguish fantasy from reality.

The researchers conducted two sets of studies. Study 1 consisted of 3-5-year-olds who viewed 16 cartoon clips of real and fantastic events that elicited either negative or positive emotions. Children’s understanding of the ability of the associated events to occur in reality was assessed after each clip. Children showed higher capacity to accurately differentiated positive events than negative events for real events. In study 2, children of similar age group watched 16 animations containing live-action broadcast of real and fantastic events. Results for real positive events were similar but 3-year-olds had greater negative fantastic events scores than positive fantastic events.

The article clarifies that even 3-year-old children can separate fantasy from reality. That is, children aged 3 years understand that real entities are tangible but their mental images are intangible. This ability enables them to understand that fantasy stories do not happen real life.

Identification and separation of reality from fantasy develops to become even better as children grow older. Educators can, thus, be confident that children that join early childhood education centres will understand the difference between fantasy and reality if they have had adequate exposure to animations on these areas.


The curated articles enabled the achievement of pre-set objectives. In other words, the article by Borzekowski (2018) proved the correct category of cartoon programs, specifically the locally-produced series, improved school readiness in young children. Again, the article by Zia et al. (2017) showed that watching cartoons in Hindu language spreads knowledge of Hindu culture and religion to Pakistani children, whose original religion is Islam. The assessment has also confirmed that actions by cartoon characters have direct effect on food choices of children.

Gonçalves et al. (2018) reported that exposing children to cartoons with messages on healthy food habits could lead children to make healthy food choices. Two articles also highlighted the negative influence of cartoon on children. Blumberg et al. (2008) discussed that continuous exposure to aggressive or violent comic characters would make children to develop aggressive behaviour. Fonts et al. (2006) added that repeatedly viewing demonizing films can teach children evil or bad behaviour.

Li et al. (2021) also stated that children from 3 years old can distinguish fantasy from reality.  Although both Blumberg et al. (2008) and Fonts et al. (2006) emphasise the effect of repeated exposure to cartoons with negative messages on children, they do not provide options for preventing children from viewing the content repeatedly. Further research should, thus, focus on minimising repeated exposure to cartoons with violent and aggressive content.