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April 11, 2011 / Asimplemother

Kids Cartoons – Which Ones Are the Best? Maybe YouTube

Deciding which cartoons are appropriate for your child to watch can be as difficult as deciding if they can watch prime time TV.  The content of kids’ cartoons has changed greatly since I was a kid, and not for the better in my opinion.  Maybe it’s because I am older now and “get” the jokes.  But today, we have several different options in comparison to our parents: PBS, Cartoon Network, Network TV and now YouTube.  Yes, I said YouTube.  In fact, my daughter responds much better to the animal videos I play from YouTube than TV cartoons.

I wanted a way for myself and our nanny to decide if a cartoon is appropriate for our daughter to watch.  Most often I can simply watch the first couple of minutes and determine if it is appropriate.  But what if I just want to commit to memory the “good ones”? 

I started by evaluating the topic, graphics and the “mom annoying level”.  Come-on, you are all thinking it.  But, I started looking at other components – commercials and the political views.  Not only to determine if the products and views are in-line with our family views, but also how strong their messages are to the young children watching.

Secondly, just over a week ago, I was reviewing some b-roll video footage for a TV show I was working on.  My daughter absolutely loved the animal images in them.  I quickly did a YouTube search and found 100s of videos with animals and their sounds.  I also found chickens clucking, ducks quacking, lions roaring and every other animal imaginable.  We spent the next 1/2 hour watching animal videos on YouTube without commercials or political spins.  Now, every time I get my computer out, my daughter starts mooing, clucking or roaring…indicating she wants to watch animal videos.  I don’t see her begging to watch TV.

I also did a search on YouTube for cartoons and found some great ones…I will do a review of them in another post.  Most of them only had bottom 1/3 screen ads that you could close. 

All of this lead me to add YouTube to my library of cartoon resources.  It is on-demand, has a wide variety of options and doesn’t have a late fee (I won’t say it is free because you must have internet access).  Don’t get me wrong, PBS, Network TV and the Cartoon Network have great cartoons as well.  But you do have to watch what they put on, when they are on, unless you have a DVR or TiVo or Hulu (limited use), and some have strong commercial and political view components. 

As a simple mother, my process is not this formalized, but I thought I should put together a chart that shows the key features I evaluate when deciding what cartoons my daughter can watch and when.

Kids' Cartoon Watching Decision Chart

Cartoon Decision Points

Although we evaluate the cartoon options for my daughter, we do not allow her to watch them on her own or for more than 1/2 hour per day.  And if something does appear that is not appropriate we can talk about it or turn it off.  There is no need to panic. Simply turn it off and make a note to self.  Your child will be OK. If you forget about it, they will too.


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