Yet another young life has been lost. An eight-year-old girl who was trying to imitate a stunt from a popular children’s cartoon fell to her death. The tragedy highlights the negative effects of cartoons.
Little Girl’s Death Shows Negative Effects of Cartoons
The incident happened in Chengdu, China in August 2018.
The girl, nicknamed Xiao Ting, had initially accompanied her father to the marketplace near her home, where he worked. But soon, she got bored and went back to her flat with her friend.
Her mother was sick, and at home. The two children somehow found themselves locked in the bathroom while playing. Xiao Ting attempted to climb down a rope from the sixth floor window, as she had seen a similar stunt in the popular Chinese cartoon, Boonie Bears.
She landed on the second-floor balcony. When her father returned home, Xiao Ting’s friend told him that she had fallen from the window.
The shocked father hurried to the scene and found Xiao Ting severely injured, but still alive. She was rushed to hospital, but succumbed to her injuries three days later, and died.
Not the First Such Tragedy
It breaks our hearts to see a young life gone too soon. Sadly, this is not the first case of impressionable young minds being negatively influenced by the make-believe world of cartoons.
There have been many cases of children in China getting critically injured, when they leapt out of their windows using their umbrellas as parachutes, after watching Boonie Bears.
The child tried an “umbrella parachute”. | Photo: CCTV/Weibo
Parents have also accused the show of containing violence and disturbing language.
No doubt, watching the right cartoons has many positive effects like promoting language and vocabulary development.
However, children are largely influenced by what they see on television. And that includes identifying with, and idolising their favourite character. We just read about the tragedies that occurred when children tried to imitate their role models.
Physically speaking, watching cartoons is a passive activity that can weaken kids’ eye sight, or may lead to spine curvature disorders. Lack of physical activity also creates problems with obesity.
Also, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, hundreds of studies on the effects of TV violence on children have found that children may:
- Become “immune” or numb to the horror of violence
- Begin to accept violence as a way to solve problems
- Imitate the violence they observe on television
- Identify with certain characters, victims and/or victimisers
As parents, here are some things we can do to minimise the negative effects of cartoons on kids:
- Pay attention to the programs your children are watching and view the shows with them. Discuss what you see on screen, co-relating them with reality. Ask your kids what they like or dislike about the show.
- Set limits on the amount of time children spend on the television, regardless of the content. Excessive TV viewing prevents children from engaging in beneficial activities such as reading, playing with friends, and developing hobbies.
- Refuse to let children see shows known to be violent. Stress that violence is never a solution to any problem.
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