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I grew up with Tom & Jerry classics (e.g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCpdjaT46DY) which I find really healthy and full of simple and pure emotions.

I personally feel that cartoons of today are bloated and dangerous.

So, should I control what cartoons the kids watch? Should I expose them to what I think are quality cartoons?

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Cartoons have always been 'bloated and dangerous'. That's why kids (and adults) love them! –  DA01 Oct 1 '12 at 15:42
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4 Answers

Some people object to older cartoons as being politically incorrect, violent etc, but I agree with you that the classics contained useful messages about good and evil, right and wrong.

That said, many modern cartoons also bring a good message, so I would suggest allowing them to see cartoons from any era but just check age appropriateness.

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I agree. Often the message within a cartoon is hidden, if not absent. For some of the really biased ones, Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety, I can't even see that there is a positive message. –  Dave Clarke Sep 30 '12 at 15:01
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@DaveClarke - in some cases you can even compare Tom & Jerry directly to Itchy & Scratchy. Frightening, but true :-) –  Rory Alsop Sep 30 '12 at 15:25
    
@RoryAlsop In some cases? Granted, I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of Tom & Jerry in decades, but I spent countless hours watching it as a kid, and I can't think of a single memory of it that doesn't match the general tone and content of Itchy & Scratchy! –  Beofett Oct 1 '12 at 12:46
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It's a unique question, since this is among the first generations to have 'new cartoons'.

Cartoons are narrative just a real as any printed narrative - classic or contemporary. We should feed our kids good brain-food. (The novelty on a cartoon for the sake of animation = amazing is now long past) Your kids are/will be given a reading list in school of acceptable and important narratives. Cartoons should be the same. Utilize the idea of 'good / bad' narratives to teach them the important values.

Be conscientious of the way narratives are placed in context to current culture. You want to raise your with timeless ethics - not with a perceptual schema that is outdated and unusable for current society.

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What do you mean by "this is among the first generations to have 'new cartoons'"? I'm old enough that Pokemon is what I consider a 'new cartoon', and I'm fairly certain that there have been plenty of others introduced in the time between Wacky Racers and Dinosaur Train. –  Beofett Oct 1 '12 at 12:48
    
Think I agree with @Beofett here - we must be the 3rd generation to have new cartoons...possibly the 4th. –  Rory Alsop Oct 1 '12 at 13:06
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As with any TV show, you should pick and choose. In my opinion, modern cartoons like "Jane and the Dragon" and "Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks" offer a lot more than Bugs Bunny. My 4-year old loves cartoons like "Shaun the Sheep" and "Fireman Sam". On the other side, I find cartoons like "Ben 10" tedious and violent so we tend to avoid those.

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I see two main questions here:

  • "Should I let my kids watch the older cartoons I grew up with?" (what you consider "quality cartoons")
  • "Should I control what my kids watch?"

Personally, I see no problem with sharing the cartoons of your childhood with your children. I, too, watched Tom and Jerry as a kid. Through the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I see just how over-the-top the violence of that show is (much like another of my childhood favorites: The Three Stooges). However, when I saw that my daycare provider includes Tom & Jerry in her lineup of "acceptable" TV, I was more amused than concerned.

Violence in television has long been a hot topic for parents, but I personally don't find it to be a major concern.

Of more concern to me is the pace of the shows. Fast scene switches concern me more than cartoon violence (so far my son has not hit me over the head with a mallet).

So, in short, if you have fond memories of certain shows from your childhood, by all means share them with your children. Particularly if you do so by sitting down with them to watch the shows, and talk about how much you enjoyed them as a child, while reminiscing with them about other parts of your childhood (in other words, use it as an opportunity to interact with your children, rather than passively viewing the shows!).

As to controlling what your kids watch, I'd say "Yes!"... followed by the qualification "as much as you can, while you can". At some point (and this point varies depending upon your circumstances; primarily the amount of exposure your child has to other children) you simply won't be able to fully control their television habits. Whether it is that they are simply focused on being able to watch a show their friends are watching, or that they are watching television while you are not there to supervise, eventually they'll be watching content outside of your ability to control it.

Since the strongest risks associated with television viewing coincide with the earliest ages of development, the longer you can exert guidance over their viewing habits, the better.

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It's also important to note the type of violence. Cartoon/slapstick is a much different violence than, say, the Dark Knight Returns. –  DA01 Oct 1 '12 at 15:44
    
Our 4yo loves Thundercats,Superted, She-ra, Gummi bears and Spiderman and his amazing friends; they laugh at nursery to hear her explaining to her friends that Hordak is the mean baddie and Adora is going to turn into She-ra with her magic sword to stop him from being mean to people. Her favourite question is "did you watch this when you were little?" The ensuing conversations are a subtle way of talking about important concepts and I always try to pick up something from a program to reinforce key messages with her; eg. pointing out nasty comments can draw attention to avoidable behaviour –  Vics Jan 12 '13 at 23:56
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