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Values in cartoons affect childhood

Saturday morning cartoons were one of the memorable parts of being a kid, but nowadays it is more difficult for people to find wholesome cartoons.

Modern cartoons rarely contain the moral fibers some adults grew watching as kids.

Carina Ruiz, a senior studying child development, said she used to watch cartoons like Doug, Rugrats and Hey Arnold! when she was younger.

She said when her brother would watch Dragon Ball Z, she joined him.

“That was his thing, and I wanted to be like him,” Ruiz said. “It became my thing.”

She said she sees a change in the types of cartoons produced today compared to what she experienced as a child.

“Many cartoons don’t have reason or plot anymore,” she said. “You get confused.”

Ruiz said she appreciated shows like Hey Arnold! that would explore real-life themes like dating.

“Back in the day, cartoons had meaning or some social issue,” she said.

Ruiz said that there is nothing animated on television today that interests her.

“I’m 24, so I don’t watch cartoons anymore,” she said.

Ruiz said that for her major, she studies the effects cartoons have on young children.

According to a 1999 Kaiser Family Foundation report her class studied, children between the ages of 2 and 18 spend an average of almost five-and-a-half hours a day at home watching television.

According to the BYU-I website, the Art department celebrates the creation of cartoons and animation.

BYU-I art majors with an emphasis in art illustration, are taught the process of creating animated works of art.

Joshua Abegglen, an art professor who teaches illustration and animation, said he grew in the 1980s during the time of He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers.

“The quality of animation is better now than in years past,” Abegglen said. “There is better technology that facilitates process.”

Abegglen said the generation that grew on 1980s cartoons is now having kids.

He said he is willing to sit down and watch cartoons with his children.

“Cartoons are made intelligently enough for both adults and kids,” Abegglen said.

Abegglen said that in the past, there were more cartoons with episodes teaching children valuable lessons.

He said there are cartoons today that he will not allow his children to watch because of content showing characters name calling and hitting each other.

“My kids emulate that behavior,” Abegglen said. “They have a harder time disassociating animated reality from real life.”

Abegglen said an example of a cartoon grounded in familial relationships is The Legend of Korra.

He suggested some good classic shows to watch would be TaleSpin, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and other cartoons from the Disney channel.

“I’m a huge fan of DuckTales,” he said. “That has some replay value.”

Abegglen said production value for television cartoons was very low in earlier days compared to animation seen in movies of the day.

“They used to be 22 minute commercials for toys,” Abegglen said. “That’s how they would pay for their budget.”

Abegglen said things have improved since the days when every cartoon had to be drawn by hand.

“For the same budget, they are able to get more mileage out of their tools than they were before,” Abegglen said. “Now you have programs like Flash and Toon Boom that can do a lot of that work for you.”

Abegglen said he teaches his students to remember to apply what they have been taught in church to their work in animation.

He said people watching cartoons will respond to the things they find to be true.

“We are under obligation to testify of Christ in all things,” he said. “We are indebted to put spiritual truths in the things we create.”

William Lovell
William Lovell is the Crime and Courts reporter for the Scroll Newspaper at BYU-Idaho. He has worked successful internships with Rands, South, and Garner Law Firm in Las Vegas, Nevada as an attorney clerk and with the Salt Lake City Police Department in their Public Relations, Peer Support, and Intelligence units.
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