Cartoons- a world of imagination for children
For a child anything that comes in the form of a cartoon becomes highly attractive and not only in terms of amusement but also in terms of observing the minute details of a cartoon, like his clothes, his actions, way of speaking, his goals, a child gets lost into a world of imagination while watching a cartoon where he assumes himself to be the super hero.
A cartoon character means more than a teacher
Since, I am also teaching some children, I must say that the image of a cartoon character in a child’s brain holds more meaning than that of a school teacher, which means that a child is more likely to follow his favorite cartoon character more than his teacher. The age group of 5-10 years is an age that does not depend upon logic when it comes to entertainment; rather no matter how rich or poor a child is or in what environment he has be raised, when it comes to cartoons, all of them react the same way and in their real life, try to reflect their ideal cartoon character as best as they can.
Minute details are keenly observed
While watching Tom & Jerry, I asked a couple of questions with a child and I was shocked to see how minutes details does a child observes in a cartoon, such as, I asked him , this house where Tom & Jerry live looks weird, coz we don’t have such kind of houses do we? And he said this is the house of the owner of Tom, who is strict and keep her house clean at all times, and because Tom is destroying her cleanliness, she kicks him out most of the time.
Long Live Tom & Jerry
Then came a scene about traffic and cars and I asked the boy why does Tom gets hit by the car and to my surprise the little 7 years old told me that you have to follow the rules of traffic and Tom is not careful that’s he gets into accident, I asked him further about what is that thing that is always outside the house, and he told me that it is a letter box where the post man drops the letters, I asked about the dog house where “Spike” lives and he replied that dogs also require small houses so on and so forth. But for a second I thought that this boy does not have the house like the show in this cartoon, there is no dog house in his garden and there is no such thing as a traffic light where they also show when to walk and when not to talk but still this child has the imagination and is learning from the cartoons the basics of a normal life.
A moral lesson nonetheless
In this cartoon, children observe that the streets are always clean, garbage goes to the trash can, the neighborhood is full of trees and greenery and though all this is far away from the reality in our own country but these young innocent minds have the power to imagine all this in the same setting as they could have been in our country, had it been developed. But when our model child stops watching the cartoon and interacts with the real life, he often rejects the whole image that he creates while watching the cartoon, as it is a contradiction to what is real. The streets are not clean, there is no greenery, there is no cleanliness, there is no Santa Claus, in fact there is nothing like they show in the international cartoon. But for a child in the US this whole experience must have been the foundation that is needed to produce a responsible citizen.
Only by telling our children to study is not the only thing that is required, instead the first thing is need is to motivate the child to become a useful and responsible citizen, for which we are not doing anything. Many children in Pakistan do not want to study, which is fact, and we should understand that these children require a great deal of motivation before they can head to school.
Anti-bacterial soaps campaigns have brought out the best cartoons
The best example is the recent cartoon campaign of some anti-bacterial soaps which was an excellent effort, our children saw their own neighborhood in the form of a cartoon. The children of this age group really wash their hands as they are told in the cartoon and most importantly, alongside getting the message of washing hands our children can also understand why we always tell them not to buy junk food from a roadside “thaila”, and the very message of this cartoon will stay in the mind of a child for a life time.
Talking cartoons vs silent ones
I gave the example of Tom&Jerry because it is pretty much silent cartoon and language does not play an important role in conveying the message, which is because I want to assert here that by translating a cartoon that has been designed for a child in US or UK is not healthy for your child’s imagination. Instead if a Cartoon series is made in our own language that reflects the life of an ordinary child then this may be more appealing for our children to understand their surroundings and to act responsibly even without having the traffic lights.
Kids love the silliest cartoons
No matter how silly a cartoon we can come up with, it will be appreciated by children. We can motivate them to show tolerance with people from different provinces, we can show them how to respect the roadside beggers of their age groups, we can also tell them how education would help them in their life. And then only we will be able to see a Pakistan where children are proud of themselves, either they are rich or poor, either they are studying in a expensive school or a cheap school, such cartoon could serve as a point where all the young minds get their lessons to be a responsible citizens of future.
Cartoon can be an element of radical change in society
With such an incredible tool, I do not understand why our media does not launch a transmission for children on every channel, where original Pakistani cartoons are to be shown, without the need of translating international cartoons. People might think that by showing their children some foreign cartoons they are getting their children aquatinted with the rest of the world but this acquaintance is totally pointless and the message of the cartoons does not get delivered if the child does not see the reflection in his own life. Our children firstly need to understand their own surroundings, and through cartoons we can at least provide the population cohorts of 2005 onwards, with a better understanding of their country and their role in development of this country.
Cartoon for imagination and lessons
The purpose of a cartoon or a series designed for children is solely to enhance the power of imagination that every child has equally. This is the power that makes a child a responsible citizen and eventually a valuable asset in the development of a country. But we concentrate only on the language and by translating we consider our job done, which is totally nonsensical. You are delivering the message but there is no application of the message you are delivering. Instead address the social issues in such cartoons to make the children well aware of the challenges they are to face in their lives.
Translated cartoons produce a generation of wannabes
By translating cartoons, showing our children dance programs, we do not realize it but we are contributing in producing yet another “generation of wannebes” a generation that always looks to the west for inspiration, which is totally not healthy for a third world country like Pakistan.
At least One Pakistani cartoon needed for change
If we really wish to see a progressive new generation then firstly we have to design at least one cartoon character made in Pakistan. We have to make sure that this generation will contribute in the progress instead of following the traditional trend of skipping and running away from problems.