It wasn’t too long ago, in the days of my youth, when I remember my parents warning me to stay away from shows like ‘The Simpsons.’ They were, in the eyes of rural town adults, offensive and immoral. The show would teach kids the wrong values and instill bad behavior. As in such, I stayed away from watching many of those types of shows until my university years.
Now that I am a little older, and I have quite the soft spot for the crude humor of those adult cartoons, I have come to realize something… those cartoons usually, in fact, TEACH our children how to behave properly. To throw a little psychology-babble out there, the cartoons will typically rely heavily upon negative reinforcement to get across a particular message.
Let’s take Homer Simpson for example. He does some extremely dumb, dangerous, and immoral stuff. On the other hand, he often gets punished for doing those actions. The same goes for most of the characters on other popular shows. Family Guy, for example, uses a very similar formula. Peter does stupid stuff, and then he gets dealt the consequences of his actions.
Instead of other children shows that depict a ‘wonderful world’ or hands down edicts that MUST BE OBEYED, the crude jokes and unorthodox behavior of the characters show that bad behavior will result in bad consequences.
Do you know of any shows that, at face value, appear worse than they actually are? How often do you watch them? Would you let your children (in a hypothetical situation for some) watch them?