Parents, how vigilant are you in filtering your kids’ tv viewing? Do you make sure that the multimedia intake of your children is appropriate for their age and are guaranteed helpful in shaping the mental, social and emotional aspects of their lives?
You may not know it, but your child could be watching one or more of these cartoon shows that are practically not appropriate for young audiences.
At the onset, these cartoon TV shows seem harmless and kid-friendly, because well they are cartoons and aired at supposedly children channels like Disney and Cartoon Network.
But trust us on this: not all cartoons are for children.
Pretty scary, huh? So, the next time your kids turn on the television, find time to sit with them and see for yourself the quality and appropriateness of the shows they’re watching. You be the judge. In cases when you’re in doubt, it never hurts to consult ratings agencies and parenting sites.
- Phineas and Ferb – age 5+
The show is such a hit at Disney, and we really adore the super intellectual and experiment-hungry tandem of Phineas and Ferb. Plus, they’re joined with a couple of equally entertaining team of friends, not to mention the goofy Dr. Doofenschmirtz.
But cutting to the chase, we know that Doof is portrayed as evil, although he chronically fails at it by the end of each show, and succumbs to cursing Perry the Platypus. Then, there’s big sister Candace who is busy trying to bust her brothers if not trying to please boyfriend, Jeremy. The dating part is inappropriate for younger audiences, but overall, it’s an entertaining Disney show with very little positive, educational messages. It’s plain fun for grade schoolers and above.
Learn more of the show’s rating from Common Sense Media: Phineas and Ferb
- Spongebob Squarepants – age 6+
We see plenty of Spongebob merchandise targeting young consumers, even infants. But for what it’s worth, the show is actually only appropriate for kids above 6 years old, as do its movie and DVD releases.
If parents only digest carefully the show along with their kids, it wouldn’t be difficult to notice the confusing satires, name-calling (stupid, idiot, etc.), bashing, and fictional violence portrayed in the show. Despite Spongebob’s positive attitude towards himself, he can be very annoying and silly, which could inspire mischievousness among young audiences.
To better understand the appropriateness of this show for your children, see Common Sense Media: Spongebob Squarepants
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – age 6+
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a good one for very young kids (5 years and below), but Equestria Girls is another thing because it now portrays the lovable ponies as teenaged girls. And we all know that teens are a totally different segment from toddlers, graders or pre-teens. Raising Children Australia rate Equestria Girls as apt for kids above 8 years old!
Still, the shows focus on friendship makes it a little bit more friendly for the kids. With less educational value than MLP: FIM, but with violence, scare, and sexy stuff, Equestria Girls is definitely something you should filter from young children who you think are not ready to understand and be exposed to these stuff.
If you want to check out a more detailed rating of this show, see Common Sense Media: MLP Equestria Girls
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse – age 7+
Barbie is an all-time favorite character among girls and ladies. After all, she is supposedly the epitome of beauty, grace, and success (my, she is the best in everything she does!), plus she has all the wealth in the world.
But looking at the show through a microscope reveals that Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse is all about consumerism, about aggressive marketing of tie-in products and merchandise and nothing more. You can see Barbie and her whole gang mad crazy over accumulating all the material possessions they can imagine, showing them off, and Raquel trying her best to outwit Barbie in everything. It can be a lot of trouble for parents if the kids start behaving like these spoiled teens!
Get to know Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse show more at Common Sense Media.
- Camp Lakebottom – age 7+
Young kids often go on camps during free time or as part of their school activity. And they might get the notion of camps from this show right here, although Camp Lakebottom is no regular camp. The camp is managed by monsters and everyone is trying to pull pranks on each other.
If you’re worried that your children are mimicking the fights, bad words and rebellion featured in the show, you might as well ban the show from your home. Camp Lakebottom also features young crushes, sibling rivalry, jealousy, and a fair deal of dark humor, which you might want to prevent young viewers from watching.
Learn more about the show through Common Sense Media: Camp Lakebottom
- The Powerpuff Girls – age 8+
Channel: Cartoon Network
The trio are cute, yes, but they’re definitely not for children below 8 years of age. We hope parents know about this. Violence isn’t fun. But often, cartoons are excused of creating humor out of violence because then nobody actually gets hurt. But to young kids, this can be very confusing, and may ultimately become a way for them to misbehave – for the sheer fun of it.
The Powerpuff Girls are out there to save the world, but in the process they create massive destruction through all sorts of violent tactics. Plus, the childish mayor’s demanding and seductive nature is nothing short of terrible for kids to emulate.
Look for Common Sense Media: Powerpuff Girls rating for guidance.
- Gravity Falls – age 8+
Gravity Falls has an impressive cult following, and mind you, they’re largely made of adults who especially like the detective work, mystery and paranormal stuff highlighted in the show.
What makes the show inappropriate for children younger than 8 is exactly what makes the show exciting and fun. The spooky, supernatural elements combined with violence, scare, sexy themes and a few inappropriate language could all make this show not kid-friendly for your toddlers and young preschoolers.
If your kids adore this show, take the time to visit Common Sense Media: Gravity Falls to see if you need to ban or continue the showing in your home with the kids a around.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog – age 10+
Channel: Cartoon Network
When comedy and horror are combined, you know the scary factor gets milder. But for kids, things can go mind-boggling. Having a pet dog can be a fun and inspiring thing especially for children. And a beagle is simply too adorable to have as pet.
However, things are nothing cuddly or loving in the case of Courage, save for the sweet gestures showed by the elderly lady human he is living with. The elderly man is a disturbing character – name-calling and mistreating Courage. And all the while, Courage tries to set aside his cowardliness and face spooky, scary monsters, demons and zombies that endanger the lives of his masters. The violent elements in this show just can’t pass for children under 10.
Common Sense Media: Courage the Cowardly Dog rating can help you evaluate this show for your family.
- Adventure Time – age 10+
Channel: Cartoon Network
The bizarre characters and worlds featured in Adventure Time can be entertaining to discerning audiences, but to young ones, they can be disturbing. The adventures and misadventures of Jake and Finn can be too much to digest for kids who still need parental guidance.
Now that a film is in pre-production, we all need to know that Adventure Time isn’t your regular kiddie show. Although the show features occasional positive messages with the main characters showing sides of being role models, Adventure Time does have its shortcomings. It also portrays violence (weapons and fights), sex themes, and foul languages here and there, which are downright inappropriate for young audiences.
Not too sure if this show is go or no go in your household? Read Common Sense Media: Adventure Time rating.
- Regular Show – age 11+
Channel: Cartoon Network
Though the show has a fan base composed of audiences of all ages, with more than 2 million viewers weekly, Regular Show is only good for pre-teens and older. The fact that the two main characters are 23 year olds is just too obvious, right?
With no substantial positive messages and role model characters, Regular Show is a plain cartoon that’s meant to entertain and show creative imagination. What makes the show inappropriate for kids younger than 11 are the references to violence, sex, foul language, and beer drinking.
If you have kids below 11, keep this off the viewing list. At least, that’s what Common Sense Media: Regular Show rating guide says
It used to be that only the rich few can buy television sets and watch the shows. Today, even the most humble of shacks and barong-barongs have a TV set, and getting a cable TV service is no more a luxury that it were before, much like the Internet.
Parents need to be more watchful of their children’s TV viewing and Internet consumption. As part of responsible parenting, we all need to look out for what’s best for our kids, and not make business or work an excuse for shoving the responsibility to yaya or simply keep the kids occupied with all the gadgets we can buy them.
Not only gadgets and gizmos killing family time, they also have serious repercussions on our young children’s overall personal development if we don’t guide them properly. Have you checked the quality and appropriateness of the shows that your kids are watching every day? If you haven’t, take the time now.
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