1.1 Backgrounds to the Study
Childhood as a stage in the human life cycle encompasses a period of phenomenal biological, physiological, psychological, and social growth. It is a stage between infancy and the beginning of adolescence, about age twelve, the human acquires major life skills the ability to walk, talk, read, care for oneself, and come to know the world around him or her. During this time, the child first encounters the major agents of socialization: the family, peers, schools, and media etc which shapes the moral, values, interest and direct a child takes.
The children in this era are very different with the children in several years ago. It’s the real problem to the parents, teachers and government for handling that was a serious public problem in many socialites around the world, one of the main causes was media influence (Oyero and Oyesomi, 2014).
The children in common society will be easy to accepting influence from environment and they have good memory to do anything because of stimulant. The brains can help to learning and doing anything. It’s transforms to be their negative lifestyle and copy-cat behaviour (Oyero and Oyesomi, 2014). There are so many activities and programmes that entertain general audience but cartoon animation is very peculiar to children and adolescents. In fact animated cartoon offers high quality entertainment and relaxation to children based on personal experience and observation. It is very rear to see a child between age two (2) and ten (10) that will not like cartoon animation. No wonder television stations (local) often schedule cartoon programmes to after school hour (2 pm and above during weekday) and in the morning during weekends to the time that their target audience are available to watch.
The “terms” animation and cartoon have been associated with lively and usually humorous images set in motion usually disseminated through television (local), cable (dedicated channels), online (Youtube), CD/DVD etc.
According to Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (2001) Defines animation as giving life or liveliness to something and while, the word cartoon is refers to the sketches or drawings similar to the ones we have seen in newspapers. When these words are combined to animated cartoon they refer to a “motion picture consisting of a sequence of drawings, each so slightly different that when filmed and run through a projector the figures seem to move” (Random House, Inc.,2001).
A cartoon is a movie made by using animation instead of live actors, especially a humorous film intended for children (Thompson, 2010)). Cartoons can also be described as the making of movies by filming a sequence of slightly varying drawings or models so that they appear to move and change when the sequence is shown. These are the elements that keep viewers, (mostly children) glued to their seats (Oyero and Oyesomi, 2014).
Cartoons were initially so short because people would be watching these shorts in the movie theaters before their feature film. When cartoonists could put their shows on TV, they began to get longer, creating the half hour block shows that are on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel today. Also, the cartoons had to become more “family friendly” so that more people would watch their show (Kapelian, 2009) in (Oyero and Oyesomi, 2014). Many Nigerian children have become very interested in cartoons and it (cartoon) has become a primary source of entertainment to them.
The popular animated cartoons channels apart from those schedules on local channels are Nickelodeon, Child Smille, BabyTV, Animaux, Cartoon Network, Kids encounter, Jimjam e.t.c and they are now available on cable tv such as Startime, Dstv, Gotv e.t.c.Similarly, some of the popular cartoons are: Dragon Ball Z, Fruits Basket, The Simpsons, Futurama, Cowboy Bebop, Naruto, Sailor Moon, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Tarzan, Tom and Jerry and Spider-Man e.t.c
The forces that shape children’s impressionable minds and behaviours are found mostly in the environment where they grow up. Such things include the things they are exposed to on a daily basis. It has been said that cartoons have influenced on children’s behaviour but the nature of the influence and whether the parents, as well as children, are aware of this development have not been determined in Nigerian context (Oyero and Oyesomi, 2014).
It is against this background that the research examined cartoon character engagement behaviour of primary school children (A case study of Ukwani Local Government Area) particularly in some selected primary school pupils in Igwete and Ododo are in the North zone, Nge and Ekum are in the East side, while Umubu is at the West side of the council area with the view to know how cartoon influence social behaviour of children.