Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Do Kids Like Cartoons So Much?

I wonder if there have been any studies on the question of why kids love cartoons. Or maybe it isn't all kids, I suppose I'm drawing a big conclusion from observing really just one kid, my daughter.

The thing is, she really loves cartoons. It doesn't matter what the cartoon is. It could be the Simpsons. Or South Park. Or some random cartoon that I've never heard of. If it flashes onto the TV, she wants to watch it. The same is not true of non-cartoon shows, most of which she has no interest in watching.

So I wonder, what is it about cartoons that is so attractive that she'll want to watch it regardless of subject matter or even knowing what it is about. Could it be they engage her imagination better because it isn't real? I can't even pretend to speculate on this, I really have no idea.

Maybe it is unique to her, but then again, someone has noticed something, since there are so many cartoons made for kids.

As an aside, maybe this is also the reason that in this country, there used to be a general assumption that cartoons are only for kids and so they were dumbed down accordingly. Japan certainly doesn't make that assumption, with lots of cartoons that are rated R or even X. And I should say that the US doesn't seem to have this as much either, with plenty of adult cartoons, such as the aforementioned Simpsons and now Family Guy, South Park, King of the Hill, and so forth. Maybe we learned from Japan. One big bonus to all of those (not that I watch them all) is that as an adult, I could turn on, say, the Simpsons, a show I enjoy, and watch it, and my daughter will happily watch it with me (rather than scream she doesn't want to watch it, which she may do with something non-cartoony. Thankfully, if she is in a less contrary mood, she'll instead just ignore a show she has no interest in and play while I watch).

But that still leaves the original question. Why do kids love cartoons so much?


Tyson said...

I've often wondered the same thing. Have you ever watched as an adult some of the cartoons from the 70's? Woody Woodpecker, or Quickdraw McGraw and the like? It's crazy how much I loved those as a kid, and now I can't for the life of me figure out why...
Anyway, I just caught up on the last several of your posts and saw no one had commented, but you should know my wife (Erin) and I still very much enjoy your blog!

DBB said...

I do remember those, and remember watching them. I don't remember why I liked them, either.

And thanks! Glad to know at least a few people enjoy what I write. I suppose I ought to get back to posting regularly, which I almost am. (I was gone this weekend, so I did not have the chance to post anything).