Viral post causes debate in China about the negative impact of British animated TV series 'Peppa Pig' has on children
While British animated series Peppa Pig has won numerous awards for best pre-school animation, some Chinese parents are now choosing to blacklist the show.
"Never let your kids watch Peppa Pig again!" said a post from a Chinese mother that recently went viral online. In the post, the mother complained that her son's behavior had been negatively impacted after watching the show.
"He jumps around all day and night; on the bed, on the ground, on the couch, in gutters, in puddles and even on me. And he has been grunting every day for over a year now!" the mother wrote.
Her complaints were quickly echoed by many other Chinese parents, who replied that they also felt troubled about how obsessed their children were with the animated show and that they were having trouble getting their kids to stop jumping, grunting, or lying on their backs with their arms and legs pointing up like a pig.
The search for good influences
The majority of China's post-1980 generation, many of whom are now parents with pre-school children, grew up watching Chinese and Japanese cartoons on TV since pretty much those were the only choices. However, the Internet age now offers far more options as children's shows from all over the world can now be found online. In particular, parents in China today have become enamored with many Western productions. While domestic cartoons have long been criticized for being poorly made, lacking in educational value or for containing violent content, works produced by North American and European countries, such as Peppa Pig, Sofia the First and Paw Patrol, have become some parents' favorite options for entertaining their children.
"I couldn't find a single quality domestic show for pre-school children. Then I saw a recommendation for Peppa Pig online," Shen Li, mother to a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, told the Global Times.
On iQiyi, one of the most popular streaming platforms in China, four of the top five most popular animated works in the children 0-3 and 4-6 categories are non-Chinese cartoons - Paw Patrol and three different seasons of Peppa Pig.
On v.qq.com, the streaming website for Tecent, Peppa Pig also lays claim to four of the top five spots for most popular programs among the same age groups.
However, Shen soon discovered that after a few months of watching Peppa Pig, her already rambunctious boy became even more uncontrollable as he would jump around everywhere and constantly make strange noises.
"I was hoping he would learn some manners and become more disciplined after watching the more education orientated cartoons from the West. Britain is known for good manners, isn't it?" she said.
"It's not that we demand he sit still all day, but sometimes his behavior isn't safe, especially when his younger sister is around. And the noises he makes seem rude," she added.
To grunt or not to grunt?
Wang Shan, whose 3-year-old son just started attending kindergarten, has a different opinion about the show.
While her son has also displayed some of the same behavior, she said she grunts along with her son and has even bought a pair of galoshes so he can trek through puddles on rainy days.
"Does this make me a crazy mother?" she asked.
Wang explained that she likes Peppa Pig because she sees how much her son resonates with the younger pigs on the show. She also thinks parents and grandparents could learn a thing or two from the adult characters on the show.
"I think their family is super harmonious. They act in the way we imagine an ideal family would," she told the Global Times.
Thirty-five-year-old Guan Ying is a full-time mother with a 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter nicknamed Xiaomiao who has watched Peppa Pig since age 2. She told the Global Times that because she limits TV time to 30 minutes a day, Peppa Pig has become the only program her daughter watches.
"I think Peppa Pig is suitable for both children and adults," she said. "Though all the stories are about common daily life, the ideas about education in British families is reflected in the stories, which makes it worth our attention."
"First of all the mother, father and children are equals and the parents respect the children's choices."
Guan added that though her girl learned to love jumping in mud after watching the program, she has also learned quite a few respectful ways to express herself as well.
This is not the first time that the popular animated TV series has received complaints from audiences. According to a 2010 report on BBC, some episodes of the animation were criticized after Peppa, the lead character, was shown not wearing a seatbelt, which led to some children refusing to buckle up when going for a drive. Another episode ran afoul of Australian audiences because it taught children to be friends with spiders. While this may seem harmless, there are several species of spider in Australia that are poisonous.