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When a leading character in one of the more popular cartoons exclaims, "Dude, that is not cool! Chopping off wee-wee's is not cool!", it highlights our love and hate relationship that we have with the animated media (Cartman of South Park qtd. in Poem of Quotes)…
The fact that children are highly influenced during their formative years makes cartoons both a blessing and a threat. On a physical level, recent research has shown that watching cartoons can help to reduce pain in children facing medical procedures (Jenkins). It is theorized that cartoons cause a change in brain chemistry and may also be able to improve the child's sense of well-being. However, critics contend that the young viewer may copy behavior seen in cartoons. Research has found a "positive, though weak, relation between exposure to television violence and aggressive behaviour" (Research on the Effects of Media Violence). Cartoons have the ability to influence either for the good or the detriment of the child.
In conclusion, cartoons are the most fundamental introduction that many children have to our culture. It has been shown that television, and cartoons, do have an effect on young viewers. It is important to consider that the program content may work to improve the child's sense of self and well being, or elicit the negative attitudes, such as aggression, that parents work hard to control.
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