ANU Reporter from 28 April 1989.

ANU Reporter from 28 April 1989.

When children's cartoons hindered world peace

Children's TV shows are often brightly coloured and fun but ANU research in 1989 discovered a darker side, as RICHARD FOX reports.

Good versus bad is a theme that has run through children's TV for decades but in the late 1980s, it was suggested this could be more harmful than it looks.

Those ruthless, evil baddies going against angelic goodies in shows such as He-man and She-ra were actually threatening how society views world peace.

Portraying heroes as good and the enemy as evil was actually impacting the way children in Australia were viewing global peace and war. That was the view of research from the ANU Peace Research, which made front page news in ANU Reporter in April 1989.

Lead researcher Dr Paula Gutlove said He-man and She-ra fight enemies that are often portrayed as deadly skeletons.

"Further, it is conveyed to children that there is one ultimate enemy, a Nazi-Soviet-Asian stranger who personifies all evil and needs to be contained and destroyed," ANU Reporter stated.