- Family and Parenting
Why Kids Needed Saturday Morning Cartoons
SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS OF OLD
When I was a kid, Saturday morning cartoons were something I looked forward to with delicious anticipation. All week long I would wait with thoughts of Bugs Bunny and Road Runner on my mind. There were the Smurfs, Scooby Doo, Speed Buggy, Flintstones, Fat Albert and probably a lot more that I have forgotten. All of these came on the TV at certain times and if you wanted to watch them you had to be in front of the TV at that time. Not so today.
THE WONDERS OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Today kids don’t have to worry about scheduled programming on the TV. If they want to watch something all they have to do is put in a DVD or pull it up on streaming Netflix and sit down and enjoy. If someone has to go to the bathroom, the pause button has only to be pushed and nothing is missed, and if, by chance, something is missed, the rewind button stands ready at all times. When a cartoon is finished it can be easily watched again…and again and again as my children have proven with my Bugs Bunny DVD collection. They can even choose which episode of any given series they want to watch. No waiting. No surprises. No missed scenes. Isn’t technology grand?
WE HAD TO WAIT
With all the convenience, is it possible that, just perhaps, something wonderful has been lost? Watching the cartoons is lots of fun. I still absolutely love Bugs Bunny. But I can remember, back in elementary school, counting down the days with my best friend until time for Saturday morning cartoons. That was the pinnacle of our week in some ways and much of the magic and enjoyment came from the anticipation. Having to wait a few days before getting to watch just a few episodes of our favorite cartoons made them that much more exciting.
EVEN WORSE...WE HAD TO PLAY
During the long wait between Saturdays, I would find it necessary to amuse myself in other ways besides sitting in front of the “Tube”. I had to do something that modern children don’t have to worry themselves with. I had to play! Worse than that, I had to go outside and play…in the sunshine no less. Can you imagine how rotten my childhood was? I would spend hours outside building a tree house and when it was done, it didn’t even have air conditioning. I would build roads in a pile of dirt and drive my toy cars and trucks around on it until my mother would make me come inside. I would climb trees, ride my bike, swing on my swing set, yell, laugh, romp, get dirty, anything to try to just get by until I could once again watch Saturday morning cartoons. I say all this sarcastically of course. I loved playing outside and I am sure it gave my poor mother a much needed break when my sister and I were not in the house fighting over who got the bigger slice of pie for supper.
NO PLAY TODAY...JUST WATCH TV
Today, you don’t see kids outside very much. It isn’t safe to leave them by themselves anymore. There are dangers that just didn’t exist 30 years ago. Something has been lost. Nowadays, kids sit for hours every day in front of the TV watching whatever they choose. There is no magical excitement over the treat of getting to watch cartoons. There is only the mindless stupor of sitting there watching the screen. If we try to get them to go play with their hundreds of toys, they get bored very quickly and want to go back to the TV.
WISH I HAD HALF THAT ENERGY
it is no wonder that modern children have health problems like obeisity, diabetes, etc. We have even come up with a label for kids that have active imaginations and lots of energy to run and play: it is called ADHD. The problem is not that we don’t medicate them enough. It is that they don’t get out and run like they are supposed to do. They don’t burn off the energy that builds up inside every young child. How many times have you heard an adult say something about wishing he or she could have half of the energy of a particular child that is running around the house getting into things? Kids need to run and play. They need to have to use their imagination to make wooden sticks turn into horses so they can be knights in shining armor. They need to make mud pies and serve them in their imaginary kitchens. They need to run around, jump over, or climb anything in their path. But instead they are made to sit at desks in school for many hours a day and then when they get home with all that pent up energy they sit in front of the TV.
In my house, we try to have a balance between TV and play but even so, my children still watch TV a lot more than I did. It has just become too easy. We have definitely lost something special that we had in the days of the Saturday morning cartoons and our kids will never understand what we enjoyed back then. Technology is great. I love my toys and conveniences. But as our lives get easier, we lose much of what made our childhoods so wonderful.