I am thankful for godly parents whose desire is to raise and train their children to serve the Lord and obey his word. However, in examining the culture around us and the character we attempt to extol before our children, it seems that many parents have a major blind spot in their observance of what is acceptable in directing their children properly: it is the area of cartoons and animation.
Over the last two decades, though certainly not exclusive to that, the animated tv shows and movies that have been presented as entertainment have become increasingly vulgar and irreverent. Nevertheless, many parents seem oblivious to the things they are presenting to their children as appropriate appearance and behavior.
Many Christian parents will proclaim the virtues of modesty and propriety to their children, then turn around and take them to see cartoons that proclaim exactly the opposite. The recent movie release Brave is a prime example, with animated characters baring their posteriors and showing cleavage. Yet, many Christian parents exclaim what a great movie this was for them to take their kids to see. If it had been a “live action” film, they would have been horrified at what was shown, but because it is a cartoon it is overlooked.
We try to teach our daughters modesty, but then turn around and allow their favorite movies to be Aladdin and The Little Mermaid in which the main characters are horribly underdressed in nothing more than bikini tops. We explain it away by saying that they are girls so it does not matter; but have we taken the time to consider what we are teaching our girls about appropriate behavior by infusing their minds with these styles of dress and appearance? Such examples hardly portray the principles of Deuteronomy 6:5-9 by showing the pattern of godliness God expects his people to uphold.
Then there is the issue of the rude and often crude dialogues and actions posing as humor. The anatomical and vulgar jokes and insinuations that are inserted to “appeal to the older crowds” might not be fully comprehended by our young children, but that does not mean they won’t be repeated. If our children portrayed the vulgar actions and language like the cartoons and animated movies they are allowed to watch, the methods of discipline may be varied, but the intensity would not.
It saddens me to see parents proclaim passages such as Colossians 4:6 or Philippians 4:8, and then turn around and see their kids talking about the latest episodes of The Simpsons or Family Guy. Such is hypocrisy and fails to uphold the standards of Scripture and righteousness.
This is not to say that all cartoons and animation are wrong or indecent, some of them are wonderful, entertaining, and beneficial for parents and children alike; but many are not. Parents, we have to remove our blind spot. Just because it is animated does not mean it is suitable for children whose parents are trying to raise them by the standards of Scripture. Most animated features today are rated PG, for many this seems to mean “Parents Gullible,” but it means “Parental Guidance Suggested.” It is time we took that rating seriously again and started doing a better job of parental guidance by God’s standards.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)