Friday, June 6, 2014

The Message Behind Today's Cartoons

This blog has been dedicated to my thoughts on children's literacy, education, and encouraging children to read. Hopefully you will bear with me as I veer off-topic today. Who knows, perhaps in  the future, it shall be the home to more of my musings other than to promote literacy--but that shall always be my main focus.

Today I would like to talk about cartoons. I was feeling nostalgic the other day so I decided I wanted to play some some beloved cartoons from my childhood, and my daughter's, while doing a few chores about the house. Grabbing the keyboard, I directed myself over to Netflix where I used our handy-dandy Chrome Cast to put an episode of Scooby Doo on our living room television to keep me company. Unfortunately, Netflix didn't have the old classics I watched as a kid so I had to pull up the newer 2010 version.
(Photo Source:

It was immediately apparent that Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated (circa 2010-2012) was not the treasured cartoon of my youth. When I was a child I was mesmerized by the mysteries that the gang seemed to find themselves mixed up in and the monsters that chased them. It was my all-time favorite cartoon. It was only natural when I had a child of my own that we found ourselves watching the old re-runs together as we snuggled up in our over-sized chair.

Imagine my surprise, as I'm moving about the house, when I hear talk of romance. Wait, what? I stop and walk over to the television and sit down. My cleaning was forgotten as I start settling into my chair and really start watching the episodes that are playing.  My beloved memories are being crushed as I continue to watch episode after episode only to discover that Scooby Doo has turned from an exciting mystery adventure into a soap opera for children!

In one scene Scooby Doo, upon seeing something rustling in the bushes, charges forward thinking he is going to save his best friend, Shaggy. Only he isn't greeted by a monster as one would expect--instead, he interrupts an interlude between Shaggy and Velma as they are locked in an embrace.  (Photo Source:

Then there is the scantily clad Daphne as she vies for Freddie's attention in a purple bikini. I believe, if memory serves me correctly, she appeared in this same bikini in more than one episode.

Do not get me wrong, I am in no way a prude. I was just greatly surprised by how my treasured childhood memory was being tainted by such a dramatic overhaul.

Then I started thinking...this is being marketed to children? Is this really the message we want to instill in elementary aged children? Is it any wonder why elementary kids want to start dating at such a young age? Should a show that was once based on a cool group of kids solving monster mysteries be transformed into nothing more than trying to "get the guy?" One of the show's main focuses was now about Daphne trying to land Freddie as her boyfriend, and Shaggy having to choose between his loyalty to his dog, and his girlfriend Velma.  Spoiler alert--he chose Scooby.  Well, at least up until the point I stopped watching.  This is a soap opera so who knows what happened after I stopped watching.

The point of my blog is not to bash Scooby Doo.  I love Scooby Doo. It was an amazing part of my childhood, and of my daughter's childhood. What I do want to do is bring attention to the way children's programming is changing. As parents it is our responsibility to choose wisely what our children are watching on television. I have never been a big proponent of censorship. To be honest, I probably would not have prohibited my daughter from watching the show if she wanted to. However, you can bet there would have been a lot of discussions in our household over what was going on in the cartoon and what was and was not appropriate for someone her age.

The moral of the story is to be alert to what your child is watching on television. Be prepared to discuss matters responsibly with them. Answer questions they may have and ask a few of your own. Children are growing up so fast in today's world--don't they deserve to be just children for a little while?

Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated went off the air in 2012. I do not know if it has been replaced by a newer version.  Just consider this an example, know what your child is being subjected to whether in print or on the screen. It is our role as parents to help guide them along the right paths.  Again, I probably wouldn't have stopped her from watching the show, but then again, there has always been a lot of discussions in our household.

Thank you for letting me post my thoughts on the subject.  I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Wishing you all a little adventure,

K. Lamb


  1. I agree with you on this. There is too much going on in the world and I think something for kids should remain untainted. They are teaching the wrong lessons in these shows.

  2. Thank you, Ensica. I appreciate your reading the article and commenting.

    Unfortunately, it is the world in which we live now. That is why I always try and encourage open dialog in families. Parents need to watch what their children are watching and READ what their children are reading. Talking with your child is so important to know what is going on in their lives and in their minds! Plus, you will learn a lot about your child. It is a rewarding experience listening to them!