Being an avid animation fan, I find
myself tuning in from my seat height as an adult down through my toddler’s eyes. Cartoons are not automatically okay to plant your child in front of the screen with full consent; PG is not just a suggestion, your guidance is needed.
Provided the most family friendly movie, there remains some themes and ideas that as a parent you may choose to highlight or talk about. It’s such a great way to bond with them on those favourite characters given your approval, and fair enough to take time and discuss what might be underlying through that 90 minute feature. It’s your responsibility to try and make it fun and safe.
Even with U rated cartoons, there could be some crude humour that they don’t have to pick up. Subliminal messages sent range from body image to obsessing over the franchise merchandise, so it’s not really over after the movie. Though girls are very much more empowered than they were in the first ever Disney’s Snow White, there are mixed messages on dress codes that are hindering your hijab advice at a very young age.
As a Muslim, it remains a challenge to find representation in animation; so trying to keep up with the glitz and glamour of those Disney and Dreamworks heroes with real life narratives of our Islamic role models is proving ever so difficult. Not just on screen, but also on page, despite having a growing base of brilliant Islamic books for the younger ones, tweens can be a target audience worth reaching for.
Of course there are other parents who would rather put a ban on the screen altogether which I totally respect; but as far as a balance may be possible, I hope to be able to watch responsibly and find alternative animations that tell our stories too. I wish to get him more off the passive production and into the creative world of reading allowing his imagination to bloom and blossom. Finally, I pray may Allah guide us to inspire a generation happily ever after.