Are Disney movies good for children? Science has an answer

For turn-of-the-millennium youngsters who grew up throughout a renaissance period for animated movies, Disney movies are candy flashbacks of childhood. Who wouldn’t assume fondly of college nights spent with popcorn and the distant management, watching colourful hand-sketched lions, dragons, and genies sprint throughout the display screen?

Because it seems, that’s a really good factor, in accordance with new analysis in childhood growth. A gaggle of Texas lecturers recently analyzed the effect of animated films—culled from the huge catalog of productions launched by Walt Disney Footage between 1937 and 2020—on youngsters’s cognitive and behavioral features, they usually discovered the movies performed a beneficial function in inspiring dialogue from youngsters, about powerful points they could be going through at that delicate time of their lives.

For instance, on the heavy themes of loss of life and grief, researchers cite a pivotal scene from 1994’s The Lion King, through which the inheritor to the throne Simba beholds the spirit of his father, Mufasa. “Disney doesn’t actually focus on in-depth a couple of member of the family dying corresponding to a dad or mum or a sibling. That leaves room for mother and father to debate this with their youngster,” says Carol Leung, a coauthor of the research. “We will additionally convey these characters as dialog starters into the remedy session to have youngsters perceive these ideas. It’s additionally a approach for the kids to attach and construct rapport.”


It helps that Disney movies are famed for their coronary heart—infusing slapstick comedies and swashbuckling adventures with enduring life classes about love, friendship, good vs. evil, loss of life and loss, and the power of household. In line with the research, 73% of the 155 movies included illustrated themes of loving your self and others, and 27% centered on morality and social rules. “Disney movies may also educate youngsters about unfair conditions in society and acceptance of racial, ethnic, spiritual, cultural and different variations,” provides Monit Cheung, the research’s lead creator. Take Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or Tarzan, for instance.

However in case you’re unfamiliar with these movies, or different Disney classics, the research additionally compiles a table of all 155 films and their chief themes or morals, which you’ll be able to seek advice from when deciding on a present for your youngsters to observe relying on what they’re going via in life. Feeling defeated? “Don’t hand over,” urges Discovering Nemo. Identification disaster? “Embrace our true nature,” The Incredibles. There’s additionally “financial exploitation” in A Bug’s Life (which I gained’t attempt to describe).

Lastly, it’s noteworthy that Disney itself has advanced over time, to mix timeless tales with an ever-more various understanding of the world and all its corners and crevices. It’s moved away from the ivory citadel princes and princesses, and shined a light-weight on the oddballs, the outcasts, and the downtrodden members of society. And because it does, Yu-Ju Huang, one other co-author of the research, says the animation powerhouse’s movies can “open parent-child conversations to nourish youngsters’s minds and broaden their horizons of life.”