Do Disney movies do children more harm than good?

Fr Jamison,
who has been tipped as a contender to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy
O’Connor as the next Archbishop of Westminster, targets the behaviour
of Disney in particular, which he says is “a classic example” of how
consumerism is being sold as an alternative to finding happiness in
traditional morality.

While he acknowledges that Disney stories carry messages
showing good triumphing over evil, he argues this is part of a ploy to
persuade people that they should buy Disney products in order to be “a
good and happy family”.

He cites films such as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians that
feature moral battles, but get into children’s imaginations and make
them greedy for the merchandise that goes with them.

Fr Jamison has a point — entertainment companies entice children to
care for their characters while then turning around and demanding that
parents purchase the totems of that enticement.  The moral message is
mixed and confusing.

A
better method for creating a memeingful childhood is to offer the story
without the backend profit points for the major corporations — or just
return to bedtime storytelling as parents share their childhood dreams
with their children before they drift off to sleep.

2 Comments

  1. Do children need to be aware of the backend? Perhaps just show the film without letting them know that there is a shirt that can be bought as well? I’m more in favor of the bedtime storytelling. That worked wonders for me as I grew up.

  2. I think it is natural, Gordon, for the children to want to celebrate the lessons they learn — but I don’t think they should have to pay for them. Let the kids create their own Bambi out of wood or fabric or crayola drawings. Don’t make the end result be ticket sales and merchandising alone…