Allowing your kids to watch cartoons may seem like a time-waster, but it can benefit them. Parents worry about their kids spending too much time in front of the television, but what if it accelerates their learning?
Watching cartoons can help kids learn English or a new language, as young kids’ minds are like sponges, effortlessly absorbing information—especially when deeply engaged in something they love, like their favorite cartoon show.
Cartoons like Looney Tunes feature uncomplicated sounds, making it easy for kids to grasp, especially those designed for younger audiences with straightforward language and repetitive scripts. Characters like Bugs Bunny often repeat simple words, making it both entertaining and beneficial for language learning in kids.
While many of us may be too old for cartoons, iconic lines like Bugs Bunny’s “What’s Up, Doc?” remain in our memory, highlighting the lasting impact of simple and funny phrases—a great starting point for kids learning a new language like English.
What Will Make a Child Learn a Task Quicker?
Whether it’s a kid or an adult, engaging in activities they enjoy enhances performance and speeds up learning, unlike tasks perceived as dull, leading to a lack of focus. Watching and enjoying cartoons is a prime example, as the enjoyment factor not only aids in learning but also speeds up the process.
Children typically have less patience than adults, making maintaining their focus a crucial factor in helping their learning process. The more child-friendly a cartoon is, the more beneficial it is for kids to learn.
As a child immigrating to the United States around the age of 5, I quickly learned to speak English within a few months just from watching cartoons. Surprisingly, while it took me a short time, other family members, particularly my mom, struggled with English her whole life.
It appears that the older you are, the more challenging it becomes to learn a new language like English. Despite my mom attending ESL classes for a long time, my language learning through cartoons surpassed her progress in a short span, emphasizing the potential impact of age on learning a new language.
While kids learn English in school, parents at home might lack the time or proficiency to teach their kids English. Hiring a tutor might seem unnecessary at a young age, considering the high costs of a tutor.
Although parents may be reluctant to have their kids spend hours in front of the television daily, for those new to the country where learning English is important, allowing some cartoon binge-watching until proficiency improves can be a reasonable approach, the parents can place restrictions over time as their kids get better at English.
What is The Use of Cartoons in Teaching English?
While some may argue that kids’ brains are like sponges, capable of learning anything, and attribute English learning to many factors, from my own perspective my English only improved when I started watching cartoons. Despite watching English-speaking television from my old country, it wasn’t until I came to America and started daily watching cartoons that my English skills significantly spiked.
Prior exposure to American music and popular movies didn’t have the same impact, highlighting the unique role that cartoons played in enhancing my English language proficiency. I believe kids may not grasp movies made for adults because they aren’t tailored to their understanding, and they aren’t able to absorb the information as well.
It’s crucial for parents to monitor what their kids are watching to avoid violence or harmful content. Opting for educational programs like Dora the Explorer is a good choice, but it’s important that the content is not only educational but also enjoyable for the child to stay focused and learn.
Forcing them to watch something they have no interest in could be counterproductive and expose them to unnecessary screen time. In today’s television landscape, even cartoons may not be as kid-friendly as they were in the early ’90s when I was growing up.
Don’t forget to choose age-appropriate content for your kids, as some cartoons may be more suitable for older children. Cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy might be among the least suitable for young kids.
What Are The Negative Effects of Watching Cartoons?
Although cartoons can aid in faster English learning and offer benefits, it’s crucial to recognize that excessive cartoon-watching can be harmful to kids. Setting healthy daily limits is essential, ensuring children have time for outdoor play and maintaining their overall health.
This approach helps encourage kids to go outside and play and improve their social interaction with their peers, preventing the risk of becoming antisocial. Balancing screen time with outdoor activities is key to fostering a healthy and balanced development for kids.
Another negative about cartoon watching by kids is violence, even seemingly harmless shows can lead kids to imitate certain behaviors. For example, in cartoons like Tom and Jerry, where a cat chases a mouse with a hammer, younger kids who may not fully understand the context might attempt to mimic such actions, unintentionally engaging in potentially negative behaviors.
Another drawback in cartoons is the portrayal of unrealistic body shapes of some of the characters. Cartoons like Aladdin, featuring princesses with slender and conventionally attractive bodies, can potentially contribute to negative self-confidence in kids who don’t align with these beauty standards.
This distortion may lead to adverse effects as they mature, causing some kids who grow up to become young teens that starve themselves to get the ideal body push at an early age than later on by Hollywood. That’s why focusing on animal characters, which are more fictional and unrealistic, can help mitigate this issue.
After reading this would you consider giving your kids an extra hour of cartoon time to enhance their English learning skills more quickly? Or does the concern about potential harm from excessive cartoon watching scare you?
The good thing is that kids learn very rapidly, so if you opt for using cartoons as a learning tool, they can become fluent in no time. As they progress, you can gradually cut their viewing hours to maintain a healthier balance. If watching cartoons doesn’t convince you then check out some of our books here, which is always a more healthy alternative to watching content on a digital device.