Case 1: In my neighbourhood live two guys and a girl who are normal people by the day. They go to offices and college respectively, but during the night they become someone else.
Case 2: I know a little boy who frequently slips into his world of dreams and has imaginary friends who come to life to have fun with him when nobody is around.
Case 3. There is a young girl who is suspicious that she may harm others with her powers. So, she has shut the door to the world outside.
You may say that these young boys and girls are in urgent need of visit to the nearest psychiatrist available. Case 1 is the theme of PJ masks, case 2 is Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes series and case 3 our very own Elsa of Frozen fame. Today let’s mute the comical sounds, keep aside the gaudy and garish play of colours on the screen and get down to the messages these toon personalities have to peddle across. The closer you will look at them the more untoward they will appear. Many children are taking them as their role models and copying them in everything they do.
So, let’s examine today, are they good enough to be copied? Are they suffering from any personality disorder? Grave it sounds but it’s a reality that is sprawling its slimy legs in our lives. More and more people are getting affected by emotional and behavioral problems. Health of a child has five dimensions– social, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Social health is how well they establish positive relationship with their peers, family and colleagues. Unlike our time (or rather my time, ‘coz you might be younger than me. As a child I was deprived of cartoons, cables were something that ‘only Uncle D’ had in the neighbourhood then) cartoons are playing a very influencing role. Our children’s social behaviour is very moulded and sculpted by what they watch.
Let’s see which of our favorite toons have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): It’s common in children but it may persist through adolescence as well. Its characteristics are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some interesting examples are:
Kalia (Chota Bheem) – Overlooks or misses details, makes careless mistakes. Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort.
Nobita (Doremon) –Does not follow through on instructions, fails to finish schoolwork, or starts tasks but quickly loses focus and gets easily distracted.
Scooby (Scooby -Doo) – Becomes easily distracted by distinct thoughts or stimuli.
Tigger (Winnie the Pooh) – Looking for “fun, fun, fun, fun” reflects his ADHD personality which is accelerated by impulses.
Joey, Dee-Dee and Marky (Oggy & the cockroaches) – Running or dashing around or climbing in situations where it is inappropriate, often feeling restless.
Minions (Despicable Me) – They jump from one thing to the next, have difficulty in focusing on one thing for anylength of time. They are easily distracted and often put themselves and others in dangerous situations.
Bart (The Simpsons) – He plays pranks in annoying ways. Being constantly in reckless motion.
Though there is no complete cure of ADHD but if you are concerned that your child displays any or all of these symptoms, you may take the help of a psychologist. The treatment helps reduce the symptoms. ADHD is commonly treated with medication, education or training, therapy, or a combination of treatments.
Cartoons have their own funny-loonyworldwhich is also reflective of the world we live in. It’s not just that they influence us. Their characters are influenced by reality around us. They give us a lead to understand and identify problems.
Oh! About the three cases I mentioned in the beginning.
Case 1: It is a case of Dissociative personality disorder, wherein two or more distinct personalities recurrently take control of an individual’s behaviour.
Case 2: It is a case of Schizophrenia where Calvin believes that Hobbes comes to life when no one else is around he hallucinates about adventures with his tiger.
Case 3: It is a case of Agoraphobia. She fears she may harm others with her powers and makes the choice to isolate herself in a castle and she refuses to meet anyone.
Have you observed any such thing in your favourite cartoon? Do contribute to the list here.