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I'm going to be basic and it's up to God to convict. Raising Children is very personal and has perspective. Nevertheless, let's gain wisdom from Scripture Proverbs 22:6 Train up [to initiate, discipline, narrow] a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. This is not saying be so strict in disciplinary action but in the discipline which motivates and encourages obedience Ephesians 6:4 Fathers [AND mothers], do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Cartoons are not wrong, but preaching to myself as well, is this a form of escape from direct parental duties? I have a 5 year old, so I understand we need breaks (Lord we do!), but can we be honest and ask ourselves; could we be outside playing soccer, throwing frisbee, walking in the park, teaching to paint, teaching to write, running, seeing museum exhibits, collecting items, and etc etc and ETC of MANY things we could be "TRAINING our Children up in the way they should go? Be honest. Something very powerful is: a child will remember a day of fishing, ice skating, and a nature trail A LOT longer than they would say, a episode of spongebob. God made our bodies and this earth to be enjoyed - our senses being heightened by the sun, we grow, we smile more and be smarter when we actually DO things together while training our children the same. My opinion is; simply allowing kids to watch cartoons and not teaching them anything is wrong. People neglect that; the FIRST TEACHERS are parents. (Genesis 18:19) - Not just from birth to 5 years of age either. Throughout their lives. Isaac was successful from direct admonishment, training and care from his father. Today's parents have accepted Laziness and now have excuses for it, but as Parents, we hold a powerful level of Intimacy which builds communities. So with the sum of this - ponder on this verse James 4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they OUGHT TO DO and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. "May you grow in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"
I love what Sheldon Seward put in his insightful answer to this question. I think it also has to do with our personal convictions about worldliness and what constitutes separation from the world. This isn't an easily answered question, and I think it's one with which many devout Christians struggle. There are good cartoons out there. There are cartoons that teach vocabulary and I've seen my daughter (11) learn a lot from these. There are even cartoons (Eweknow and Veggietales) that have moral and even obliquely Christian messages. There are cartoons about Bible stories, but I don't think these are the types are cartoons you're asking about. Almost anything on major satellite/cable channels is going to be written from a worldly point of view; that's a given, but some shows are worse than others. There's a lot of cartoons with profanity, that teach questionable values, or that include concepts from Eastern religions if not demonic/occult practices. Some cartoons have bathroom humor targeted at preteen boys. Of course some of the anime cartoons are aimed at teen boys and adult men, and this leads to the explicit anime. Kids need to know from the outset that not every cartoon is meant for children; some cartoons, such as South Park, are off limits. Some of the popular programs/cartoons aren't "bad" in the same way, but they feature bratty, disrespectful kids; catty girls and violent boys; kids who are portrayed as better or smarter than adults and who can solve all the world's problems in 30 minutes or less; kids who dabble in the occult; kids for whom popularity or the latest fashion is god; and kids who dance in suggestive ways. They follow the World's teachings in issues such as having a crush on someone, lying to your parents, materialism, gossip; etc. Some of these programs are easy to nix immediately (after seeing some of the hip-hop dancing on real-actor "kids" show, my husband turned it off) but other shows are harder to make a decision about.. Parents have to be discerning and really watch the show or research it carefully so that they can at least arm their children about the subtle messages they're being spoon-fed. Kids may not recognize the pantheism in Disney's Pocahontas, or ideas such as reincarnation that sometimes pop up in some of the Japanese anime cartoons. If you have a question about a specific cartoon, look it up on a Christian TV review site or even Wikipedia. Sometimes the Wikipedia description alone is enough to let you know that a show may not be for your family. Also watch your child. If the child's personality starts to change after watching a particular show; if he suddenly starts being naughty or disrespectful, then perhaps that show is sending messages that aren't consistent with the values you're trying to teach.
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