ANIME – fun, fierce and sometimes downright dark - should parents be worried? - Klikd

ANIME – fun, fierce and sometimes downright dark – should parents be worried?

WHAT IS ANIME?

Anime is a form of cartoon animation that originated in Japan. The cartoons are not silly dogs with too much skin or mice with big red bows in their hair. The characters are people with large eyes, pitch dark hair, exaggerated features and many emotions. Throw in big drama, complex closeups at just the right moment, intense colours – well the tween and teen brain is in its happy place!

And perhaps most interestingly, it has drawn kids across the gender spectrum – girl, guys, straight, gay, bi-sexual, pan-sexual – anime has an unusual appeal to a lot of teens and tweens. And boy are they downloading it – on Netflix, on Cruchyroll (think of it as a dedicated Netflix for Anime), off Youtube, Tiktok, in comic books or simply on local TV channels. It is everywhere.

And here’s the crunch – as our teens grew, so the adult market grew with it! Yes, there is a huge adult market for anime.

SHOULD I BE WORRIED IF MY CHILD IS WATCHING ANIME?

The obvious concern– our kids are being exposed to ideas, ways of being in the world and sexual nuances that simply aren’t age-appropriate. But this is no different really to the concerns that present themselves with adults playing Fortnite and Call of Duty on Discord.

Our real concern at KLIKD, and one that we think is worth raising with our kids, is that many of the characters are filled with angst, sadness and despair.  (in real life, our kids call other kids who behave like this EMO, as in ‘always emotional’). Many of the characters are simply put, miserable, or in challenging, sometimes violent relationships. *We think that this view, it lends itself to teens resonating too easily with those emotions as ‘the norm’, as predictable and sometimes even as inevitable.*

We are not suggesting that those feelings of angst aren’t real, and of course it is sometimes wonderful to find yourself reflected back to you on the screen…but it can take them down a rabbit hole too and that is the real KLIKD caution around Anime.

IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS?

On the upside, Anime has ironically, for the same reason, left lots of kids feeling understood, it has brought out huge creativity in many of them who love to draw their own anime characters – some have even submitted their own plots to various platforms as ideas for new shows…

WHAT MUST I DO?

  • Chat to your kids to make sure that they are watching and using Anime for good. Make sure it is not just an ‘emo fest’ where misery breeds company.  Like all of these offerings, how they engage it is what determines the impact it has on them
  • Make sure you have sufficient parental controls to block explicit sex, the violence and the nudity:
    • Make sure you have set up your parental controls on Netflix (other streaming platforms your child is accessing it)
    • Invest in a good router which works across all devices in your house and blocks all sorts of inappropriate content, (we are loving the Gryphon Router)
  • Chat to your child, and then chat some more. At Klikd – the greatest offset to against any tricky online situation is parental connection: parents who are connected, engaged and informed. If you are still reading this – that’s you!

 Here are some conversation starters to get you going:

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • Do you watch anime? Do you like it or not so much? How come?
  • Which are your favourite characters?
  • Why do you love them?
  • If you could have any one quality of xxx, what would you like it to be?
  • Do you think the characters are different to the average show you see with real people on say a Netflix series?
  • Some people say that some of the characters are dark, depressed, emo – do you agree?
  • I’d love to see what you loving about anime – can we watch one together this weekend -you choose!

Happy long weekend and here’s to the mama’s who, like us, are growing good digital humans every day.

Stay connected

Sarah and Pam

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