Psychologists have slammed kids TV shows such as Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol, and films like Frozen, believing they teach children how to deal with pain wrong.
A new study claims that the young audience is being exposed to ‘unrealistic portrayals of pain’ via the programmes, and are being taught that physical violence is ‘not worthy of help or empathy’.
Within the study, the team focused on shows and films aimed at four to six-year-olds, with ‘violent injury’ a common factor within programmes like Paw Patrol and Finding Dory.
The team determined characters were more likely to suffer violent injury, with only 20% of pain depicted being something simple, like falling over.
Boys are also more likely to be shown experiencing ‘severe pain’ than girls.
Dr Melanie Noel, associate professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary, said that at such an early age, the media children are exposed to is a ‘powerful force’.
She said of her findings: ‘The way pain is unrealistically portrayed is teaching young children that pain is not worthy of help or empathy from others, and that it will be experienced and responded to differently if you are a boy or a girl.
‘We have a responsibility to change these societal narratives about pain.’
Other films that were studied included Despicable Me 2, The Secret Life of Pets, Toy Story 3 and 4, Incredibles 2, Inside Out, Up and Zootropolis.
Sofia the First, Shimmer and Shine, The Octonauts and Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood were studied on the TV programme side of the study.
Dr Abbie Jordan, of the Department of Psychology and Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath, said: ‘When it comes to pain, as we see from this study, the picture presented by these media is not reflective of children’s common experiences, instead focusing much more on extreme and violent pain.
‘Our assessment is that these programmes could do much more to help children understand pain by modelling it in different ways and crucially by showing more empathy when characters experience pain.’
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