Save kids from mimicking cartoons

An 8-year-old girl in Chengdu fell to her death while trying to climb down a rope from a sixth floor window. She was mimicking a stunt from the popular Chinese cartoon Boonie Bears

According to Chengdu Economic Daily, an 8-year-old girl in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, fell to her death while trying to climb down a rope from a sixth floor window. She was mimicking a stunt from the popular Chinese cartoon Boonie Bears.

Before the fatal fall, the girl was playing with a friend at home. They locked themselves in the bathroom, and then the girl attempted to climb out of the window.

Her mother, who was mentally ill, was at home at that time, while her father was working at a nearby marketplace. The girl’s parents should be blamed for their negligence, for sure, but isn’t the cartoon maker guilty of creating content that may be improper for children if they are left alone?

As a matter of fact, the tragedy was not the first of its kind. Last April, according to China Youth Daily, a 7-year-old boy in Jiangsu Province leapt out of the window while holding an umbrella as a parachute after watching Boonie Bears. Two years ago, it was reported that a girl in Shaanxi Province, who thought she was imitating the lumberjack in Boonie Bears, seriously injured her little sister’s face with a chainsaw.

The same cartoon has also been accused of containing disturbing humor, violent scenes, sensitive languages and the use of guns.

As children are impressionable, they may mix up fictional plots with reality. Exposure to controversial scenes, even in the comical way, can have negative effects on children. Thus art creations like Boonie Bears should be held responsible for their misleading content.

The debate over establishing a rating system of television, films and video games in China has been going on for years. It should come to something by now. Anyway we could learn from Japan for clues.

There, cartoons geared to adult audience are only allowed to be played in late night. Once a cartoon is suspected of harmful influence, it’ll be immediately suspended and analyzed. Any dangerous scene that has the potential of being copied will be accompanied with a warning “Please Do Not Imitate!”

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