Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cartoons: No Laughing Matter

We rarely take the children out to the movies, but last night I took two of our daughters to see “Puss in Boots” (2011).  I do think it is a shame that almost all children’s movies and entertainment produced nowadays are exclusively animation.  It does not matter how “realistic” they make the animation, it is still animation.

The American Pediatric Association recommends no animation for children under two because the APA has found animation is detrimental to their brain and language development.  However, it is not as if after two animation is good for children.  The brain continues to grow and restructure until the age of 12. That is why it’s so crucial that developing minds receive the right kind of sensory stimulation.  One of the major problems with animation is that it doesn’t require a lot of mental gymnastics to interpret it and the brain works on a “use it or lose it” principle.  If the brain isn’t working, it’s not developing and growing. After the age of 12, it’s much more difficult for the brain to develop the connections which enable learning to take place.

Also troubling is research that has shown that the quick cuts and fast paced action in animation makes reality seem very boring to children.  It’s theorized that this overstimulation has led to the proliferation of ADD and ADHD in children and teens.

The detrimental aspects of animation is in stark contrast to storytelling which develops children’s imaginations, their language skills, and their minds, instilling self-confidence and a sense of community.   And that is in addition to being entertaining and fun!

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