Cartoons you should not let your kids watch

We all have watched cartoons while we were growing up and even today cartoons are an integral part of our kids’ childhood. But ours was probably a much simpler time.

Did you know that the number of Kids’ channel in India has grown from 4 in 2001 to 12 in 2011 (TAM Media Research), Cartoon Network being the first entrant in year 1995. What is also interesting is that initially the content available on these channels was made for western markets like Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Dexter etc but now Original Indian content is also gaining eyeballs in these channels with shows like My friend Ganesha, Chhota Bheem, Little Krishna etc. (Source: Kid-Powered TV, Hindustan Times, November 14.2011)

However, my concern is that the initial years of a child’s life are considered to be critical in brain development. TV and other electronic media might be an inhibiting factor in children exercising their creativity, imaginative skills and doing activities involving physical fitness and muscular coordination. Prolonged exposure to TV might also restrict children from interacting with their peers limiting their social skills.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 2 do not watch any television and those above 2 year old should not watch more than 1-2 hours of quality programming. However, the quality of content available in our television networks is substandard at the best. It is frequently found that most of the Cartoon videos airing on these channels are unsuitable for watching by small kids especially Toddlers. There is hardly any age defined programming available on Indian TV Networks, so children between the age of 3-5 years end up watching content meant for kids aged 7 and above.

There are no checks on the language, cartoons images, level of violence, behaviour shown in  these cartoons meant for kids. There is an unnatural pace in some of these cartoon animation sequences which can be overstimulating and stressful for young minds. Here are my picks on the Cartoons you should probably never let your kids especially toddlers watch:




What is it about? Spongebob Squarepants is an American television series about the exploits and adventures of a “Spongebob Squarepants- a Sea Sponge” and his various friends in the underwater city of “Bikini Bottom”.

Why I dislike it? -This cartoon uses violent and dark satirical humor which will be confusing for children who cannot separate reality from fantasy. The action sequences in this cartoon are extremely rapid and studies have found that Preschoolers who watch fast paced cartoons like “SpongeBob Squarepants” have less concentration spans and poor focus compared to children who watch slow paced cartoons.


What is it about? – It is a Japanese Manga and anime series which follows the adventures of a five year old  Shinnosuke “Shin” Nohara , his family and friends.

Why I dislike it? -Crayon Shin Chan is a pet peeve of mine. Although Shinchan is portrayed as an average schoolgoing child his behaviour can only set bad examples for the children watching it. Shin Chan uses impolite language, age-inappropriate humour, misbehaves with his parents, teachers and friends and is shown as a Smart alec for getting away with all this. I am aware that the show is hugely popular among Indian children but I feel it is a bad role model for kids and is definitely banned in our household.

 Ben 10

What is it about? – It is an American media franchise about a Boy named Ben who acquires a watch-like alien device called the Omnitrix which when attached to his wrist allows him to transform into alien creatures.

Why I dislike it? – The show is violent to say the least. The transformation of Ben into various Alien forms is accompanied by dramatic visuals and music which might end up giving nightmares to your young ones. Young children especially Toddlers have yet to discern between reality and fantasy so they might up getting confused about an alternate reality and a world where danger is lurking at every corner. There is also a concern about how Ben and his Cousin Gwen constantly namecall each other using words like Stupid, Doofus etc which is unacceptable.



What is it about?– A Japanese Manga and anime series about an earless robotic cat named Doaremon which travels back in time to aid a Schoolboy, Nobita Nobi.

Why I dislike it? – The lead character is just a Submissive toy in the hands of Nobita, a lazy and mischievous boy. Apparently Doraemon was sent back in time by Nobita’s great grandson to stop him from his self destructive path, but all we can see is that he stands by to watch Nobita’s actions go wrong and then helps him to get out of trouble using his magic gadgets. Nobita also misuses the gadgets of Doraemon to trouble his friends and Parents.The underlying message of the show seems to be that you need to rely on magic to get through various situations in life rather than self confidence and courage.

 It is not a coincidence that all these cartoons are wildly popular and have a number of products available under their brand from lunch boxes, school bags to clothing range and toys . Clever marketing strategies and a consumerist approach is the hallmark of all these franchisees.

I think the onus falls on us parents to limit screen time and determine whether we should let our kids watch shows like these and whether we can prevent our children’s behavior to be molded according to the leading characters of these shows.

What cartoons are not allowed in your house? Do you recommend any cartoons safe to watched by kids? Let me know through your comments.

Swapna Thomas is the editor and founder at, an award winning Parenting blog. She quit the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom and in the process, discovered a whole new career. She truly believes that happy moms = happy world. She also coaches moms to start their online business. She loves sufi music and spends way more time daydreaming than one should.

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  1. Hi swapna, thanks for an informative article. my little one who is only 22 months loves watching Chuggington, Bob the builder, Peppa pig and Handy manny. I disagree with AAP reckmmendation for under 2 years. My son has learnt a lot of words and can sing chuggington theme song to some extent. having said that i do agree that there should be limits to how much and what our kids can watch and we have a duty to monitor and ensure that its age appropriate.

    • Thank you Harsh for your comment. What a coincidence ! My daughter is bonkers about Peppa Pig too. Yes you are right, in this day and age it is probably not feasible to keep young kids away from screen time as there are so many learning videos for kids starting from birth. TV is a medium where we have little control over the content and the only choice we can make is whether to switch it off or keep it on. Anyways I am so glad that your little one is learning new concepts and you are a responsible parent to provide limits according to age. Keep visiting Indianma :)

  2. Swapna..this was so informative. Being in Andamans, we have a limited no. of cartoon channels and Pahal recently started watching them. I had a BIG NO to CN but then my hubby thought that she anyways does not get any company here so cartoons maybe a good way to keep her engaged. She has picked up lots of words from them.

    Now that she is into cartoons, I allow her only Ninja Hattori on Nick and sometimes Chhota bheem.

    Thanks a ton for this post. While I didnt know about any of these (as we get only two CN channels here) I would keep a note of these when I move to Delhi.
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    • When you move to Delhi you will face a LOT of cartoon channels for sure Surabhi! Even if we want to keep the kids away the other kids in their school have seen them and talk about it all the time. Some cartoons like Shin Chan and BEN 10 are a definite no-no but Doaremon I have also given up on and let her watch for a little time. :(

  3. Hi Swapna. You have raised a good point. My kids are also crazy for cartoon network. Doremon, ben 10 and shinchan are on top of my dislike list for obviously same reason as yours. I also do not like their watching oggy and cockroaches (yuck). there are some good shows also. there is art attack, quiz shows and MAD on pogo. Just have to keep a check on them from time to time that they are watching good shows.
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    • Yeah Nidhi even in our FB discussion there was a lot of hate towards Oggy. I think it is incessant dumbing down of the content which irks the parents. Why can’t we have some good programming for kids which is fun, entertaining and clean viewing too.

  4. Looking back to my own childhood experiences, I grew up with lots of cartoons that I’m sure were deemed unacceptable by SOMEONE for having too much violence, featuring characters that weren’t exactly model citizens, etc. The thing is, if you’re parenting well in the first place, I don’t think bad behavior is really going to negatively impact a child. If you teach kids the difference between right and wrong and fantasy vs. reality, cartoons can be just another source of entertainment that is passive at worst, and inspiring to the imagination at best. If you’re relying on television to parent your child, then yes, you most definitely have reason to be afraid, but responsible parents would be better off trusting their children with a bit of harmless fun every now and then. Our parents trusted us, and for the most part, we turned out okay…

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