In this article, Martin asserts that superheroes play a significant role in influencing the behavior and moral of children. He says that the actions of superheroes such as saving innocent people and fighting villains influence how children think about social issues such injustice and equality(Martin, 2007). Through analysis of various studies carried out on the subject, Martin concludes that children learn about good moral values and try to follow them as well as try to engage in behaviors which are considered to immoral. However, the author also acknowledges the bad influence of superheroes. For instance, he acknowledges that superheroes promote violent behavior among children due to the mostly violent way in which they deal with villains(Martin, 2007). He therefore asserts that it is the role of teachers and parents to try to emphasize to children about the good morals promoted by superheroes while at the same time try to discourage the bad morals such as use of violence.
Main Arguments in the Article
There are a number of arguments in the article about superheroes and their relation to children. The first is that superheroes are very popular among children. The reason presented by the author for such observation is that children are normally fascinated with things which are beyond their reach. This makes them to imitate adults as they try to achieve the things they are fascinated about (Martin, 2007). Another argument in the article is that while the common use of violence among superheroes can have bad influence on children, it is possible to teach them to focus on the positive aspects of superheroes instead of the negative ones. This can therefore led to positive influence from superheroes. While it is possible to emphasize to children about the positive aspects of superheroes, the author fails to take into consideration the fact about children learn. Young children learn mostly through imitation. This implies that while children might be taught by their parents about how to have good morals and behave, they are likely to act in the same way as their parents (Martin, 2007). For example, children of parents who constantly fight are likely to engage in such behavior when they interact with other children. As such, children are likely to imitate the actions and behaviors of their superheroes as opposed to learning about the good morals being presented by the superheroes. For instance, one thing that children are more likely to learn when they watch superhero films is that bad people need to be punished. This explains the low rating on forgiveness in the study carried out in the article.
The author also asserts that children about social issues through their superheroes. For instance, he says that children learn about the need for a just world where everyone is given equal opportunity through seeing how their superheroes try to fight for the helpless in society and rid society of injustice (Martin, 2007).This is a good point made by the author in the article. This is because since children learn mainly through observing how others behave, the actions of superheroes where they mostly try to fight injustices in society allow children to learn about what is good and bad and understand that there is need for all people to be treated in the same way. For example, through the actions of superheroes trying to protect people and punish villains, children learn that it is bad to treat other people badly and one is likely to be punished when they do that. They also learn about the responsibility of protecting others.
In this article, the author does a good job in carrying out a review of the literature on the subject. He reviews a number of studies carried out on the subject presenting the main arguments made by various scholars. He presents empirical evidence from various studies which suggest that superheroes have positive influence on children (Martin, 2007). However, he failed in the study carried out to support his hypothesis about superheroes having positive influence on children. The study was not effectively designed. As such, the results could not be generalized. The study carried out could therefore be improved.
Evidently, this article provides insight into the role played by superheroes in the development of childrens behavior and moral values. From the article, one learns that moral values that are developed in children are mostly derived from their superheroes. However, the article fails in trying to provide evidence to substantiate such assertions because of a poorly executed research study. As such, the hypothesis presented in the article cannot be confirmed or refuted.
Martin, J. F. (2007). Children's attitudes toward superheroes as a potential indicator of their moral understanding. Journal of Moral Education, 36(2), 239-250.
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