Parents Warn Not All Cartoons are Kid Friendly

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A Rogers child was suspended after repeating a word he heard on a cartoon. Parents in our area admit it can be challenging to keep children away from questionable cartoons. But many say they work hard to make sure they're exposed to the right things.

From South Park to the Simpsons, many cartoons aren't intended for kids. And Amy and Scott Robertson work to make sure their 5-year-old Ian only see's what he should.

"We try to watch a show that we wouldn’t mind that he could quote or repeat and we wouldn’t be worried about what it said,” says Parent Amy Robertson. “We just don't want to put those kinds of things in his mind."

The Robertson’s say they go online to research cartoons, and they won't let Ian watch a show unless they've seen it first. And check the show's rating. Scott Robertson says times have changed.

"When we were growing up if it was animated it was a kids cartoon,” says Parent Scott Robertson. “But there's a whole segment of cartoons that are more oriented towards adults now."

Stephanie O’Leary says she sticks to channels she trusts.

"I like them to watch more educational kind of TV shows,” O’Leary says. “So PBS Sprout is a big hit in our house, sometimes the Disney Channel Mickey Mouse where they learn shapes and colors and stuff like that."

At Fresh Roots Family Counseling in Rogers Dr. Mary Jeppsen says if you have concerns about an animated program, watch it with your child.

"Watch it with them and process it with them and say well this wasn't such a really good thing,” says Dr. Jeppsen. “Or what did you think about when so and so did this. And you kind of process it with them so you make it a moral lesson rather than letting the show be the lesson."

Because there's one thing counselors and parents agree on, what children pick up from animated shows, sticks.

TV-G means general audience and suitable for all ages.  TV-PG means parental guidance is suggested and may have content unsuitable for younger children. TV-14 means parents are strongly cautioned and content is unsuitable for children under 14. And TV-MA is for mature audiences only, 17 and up.

The parent of the boy in Rogers, Ken Swindle, says he bought a used DVD of a cartoon and let the child watch it with him, not knowing it had bad language in it.

Five-year-old Jordan’s father is filing a lawsuit because of the one-day suspension. Swindle says his son has no understanding of what the word means and should have been scolded not suspended. The school district has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit which calls for a full investigation into the suspension.