No kidding! Children’s cartoons are hotbeds of murder and mayhem

Harmless fun? Tom and Jerry
Harmless fun? Tom and Jerry
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THEY are ‘rife with death and destruction’ with scenes that could get you cowering behind your cushions.

Not horror films, but the humble children’s cartoon.

A new study which analysed cartoons released between 1937 and 2013, including Snow White, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid, found they were more violent than films aimed at adults, with main characters more than twice as likely to be killed off.

Researchers Dr Ian Colman and Dr James Kirkbride, from the University of Ottawa and University College London, said: “Rather than being innocuous and gentler alternatives to typical horror or drama films, children’s animated films are, in fact, hotbeds of murder and mayhem.”

And while parents may shelter their youngsters from the “endemic gore and carnage” typical of adult films, they may be surprised to learn that two thirds of the cartoons examined depicted the death of an important character, compared with half of the adult films.

Grisly deaths in cartoons were common - shootings in Bambi, Peter Pan, and Pocahontas; stabbings in Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid, and animal attacks in A Bug’s Life, How To Train Your Dragon, and Tarzan.

There was no evidence to suggest that cartoons have got more violent since Snow White, almost 80 years ago, when the evil queen was forced off a cliff, and crushed by a boulder while being chased by seven vengeful dwarves.