What Parents Need to Know About Anime to Keep Kids Safe

Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan. It is characterized by colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots with fantastic or futuristic themes. According to the World Population Review, 72% of Americans watch Anime regularly. With a large genre, there is a great deal of variety in the content that Anime shows cover- from family-friendly shows like Doraemon, to shows only suitable for teens and adults like Death Note.

Whether your child is an Otaku (a Japanese term for a huge anime fan) or just beginning to explore the genre, there are important safety guidelines you need to know. These precautions are best followed with Anime and any other super popular pop culture content. 

Here’s what parents should know about Anime to keep their kids safe and ensure that they are watching age-appropriate content.

Know Your Ratings.

Broadcast and cable television networks classify TV programs with various labels. Familiarize yourself with the following rating system and choose shows that use these acronyms.

  • TV-Y, TV-G, TV-PG: All generally safe for younger audiences.
  • TV-14, TV-MA: Intended for older teens and adults. These may contain mature themes, strong language, and sexual content.

Preview the Shows.

While ratings can be helpful guides, you may have a different idea of what is appropriate for your child. The best way to ensure you approve of what content your child is viewing is to watch it yourself. While Anime’s bright colors and cheerful music may appear child-friendly, the subject matter may be very mature. 

Use Parental Controls.

You can find parental controls in most streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation. Additionally, your cable provider may have some settings you can adjust. Use these tools to restrict content by age rating so your child can only access age-appropriate shows. Parental controls will keep them from engaging in a show that is too mature for them. 

Discuss Themes.

Children often enjoy shows because of the imagery and music. They are not always aware that the material discussed is too mature for them. TV shows like Anime tell stories with recurring themes that are often rooted in fantasy. Discuss the storyline of your child’s favorite shows to help them differentiate between reality and fantasy. Be open to their questions and answer them with honesty. 

anime Doraemon

Introduce your child to cultural differences.

Through anime, children can be exposed to other cultures and learn more about the world. Japanese culture portrays violence, death, and sexuality differently than Western media. Explain to your children that people live differently and have different perceptions in other parts of the world. Be open and ready to answer any of their questions.

Keep them safe across different platforms.

Anime is incredibly popular worldwide, and thus, there is a global community of fans interacting on different platforms. Your child may want to talk about their favorite Anime shows through:

  • Forums
  • Chat rooms
  • Social media
  • Fan websites

Unfortunately, these platforms can have a number of threats including online predators. These websites and forums are often not rated for content. Discuss these threats with your child and set clear boundaries for appropriate interaction.

Educate About Legal Viewing Platforms.

Your child may discover illegal streaming sites in their love of Anime. These illegal platforms are not regulated and may expose your child to dangers such as: 

  • Inappropriate ads
  • Malware risks like viruses and bugs
  • Identity theft

In addition to these risks, illegal platforms often do not support the creators of the art form and thus steal from them. Instead, instruct your child to only use verified viewing platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Funimation.

Fan-made Content Creation.

When fans love a genre this much, they expand on the stories and make their own content. Anime fans create fanfiction, artwork, and videos about shows. This content is not regulated and may be inappropriate for children. Ensure that your child understands how to avoid inappropriate fan-made content. 

Your child may discover most of this content through social media. Monitoring their social media accounts on your own or through an app like MMGuardian will keep them away from inappropriate content. 

Set Viewing Limits.

Watching Anime is categorized as screen time and should have limits in place. While watching Anime and enjoying these vibrant stories is a great pastime for your child, it should be done in moderation. Excessive screen time can lead to many issues in children and teens, such as:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Eye strain
  • Mental health issues

As parents, exploring your child’s interests and hobbies with them can be fun. It is also a proactive approach to keeping them safe while enjoying this pastime. Anime can be something that you enjoy together or just a hobby of your child’s that you monitor. Either way, getting involved and discussing these safety items with them will help ensure they can enjoy Anime safely and responsibly. 

To have more control and monitoring abilities over what content your child is accessing, you may wish to get your child an MMGuardian Phone. It is a Samsung smartphone with parental controls and monitoring capabilities built it. The AI-powered Safety Alerts will notify parents of concerning and inappropriate content on their child’s device. Click here to get an MMGuardian Phone for your child.

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