Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Miranne Khaled   Miranne Khaled  

A large group of people still think that animated films are meant for children. Well, this notion would be unharmful if you don’t prefer watching cartoons, but it’s a terrible idea if you have kids and don’t observe what they’re watching. For decades, many animated TV shows and movies have been catering to adults, and older ages are deemed the worst cartoons for kids. 

Many animated films may contain adult jokes that children wouldn’t understand, but there are far more negative elements that make cartoons inappropriate than that. Such factors include violence, sexual jokes, and harmful subliminal messages. Thus, you need to watch out for what your children are watching and keep an eye out for those that promote disturbing behaviour and undesired thoughts.

Cartoons are essential to every child’s life, and it’s been so for long years. We advise you to research your kid’s favourite TV shows quickly. Meanwhile, we’ll help you know about the famous ones known to be the worst cartoons for your little ones.  

1. The Simpsons

Right from the start, this animated TV show was never meant to be for kids. Even its script is quite too complex for little kids to comprehend, not to mention the controversial topics that young ones would find hard to grasp its concept. Although it’s among the most popular animated shows worldwide, The Simpsons received a harsh backlash in the 80s and 90s, being ranked among the worst cartoons for kids.

The show is suitable for older children from 13 and above. Despite its inappropriate content at some times, teenagers and young adults will find it easier to follow. So, if you ever find your kids attracted to this entertaining yellow family, make sure they’re of an appropriate age.

The series also displayed characters with the impulse of stirring trouble and being an unambitious kid, Bart. We haven’t even started with his tendency to disrespect others in many cases. Although it can be funny and entertaining most of the time, such behaviours can teach our kids bad manners.

2. Family Guy

Family Guy is a distant cousin of The Simpsons show. It’s another animated series that adults find more entertaining than kids do. Despite its popularity among fans worldwide, Family Guy can be the worst cartoon to leave your kids in front of. Don’t let the cute-looking characters or the funny talking dog deceive you; it’s not for your little ones. 

Family Guy has proven for many seasons that it uses a lot of obscene languages, portrays drug use, and excessively uses sexual terms. One of the significant risks of such cartoons is for little ones to pick up on profanity. Since its release, the cartoon was already rated PG-13, so families can be cautious when having pre-teenagers.

3. SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants is a fantasy cartoon following the life of a talking sponge having undersea adventures along with other sea creatures. Considering the plot, it’s easy to guess that this story is for young children. Well, unlike The Simpsons and Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants is a show appropriate for kids, yet researchers raised many questions in a 2011 study. 

It’s believed that cartoons can negatively impact children, especially if they’re not proper for their age. As for SpongeBob, it’s a lovely fictional character, but it’s deemed among the worst cartoons for its fast-paced nature and unrealistic events.

According to that 2011 study, children who watched fast shows like SpongeBob struggled to concentrate or pay attention. It was also proven to aggravate cases of ADHD. On the other hand, researchers suggest that children at very young ages should be more exposed to educational shows and slow-paced cartoons that can assist with their cognitive development.

4. Pepe Le Pew

Pepe Le Pew isn’t mainly a cartoon, but it’s one of the fictional characters with people in utter rage upon its appearance. It’s the skunk character in Warner Bros.’ Looney Toons series, portrayed as a weasel with a French accent and kind of perverted behaviour. The character first appeared in Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies in 1945. 

It also got more than a few spin-offs and separate episodes. After a considerable backlash, Warner Bros. had to take the show’s character, including the Space Jam sequel. Although it was meant to be a humorous character, people believed that this character was offensive to French people, claiming that the character “normalises rape culture.” Just so you know, if this black-and-white skunk appears on your TV, you should know it’s automatically among the worst cartoons for your kids.

5. South Park

South Park is already labelled as one of the worst cartoons for young children, in the same category as Family Guy and The Simpsons. The portrayal of characters seems quite fun and cute, which deceives you into thinking it’s an animation for all family members. However, the hit series is already rated TV-14, clarifying that it’s not suitable for preteens.

The animation style seems a bit too childish, yet the themes tackled within the show are pretty mature for little ones to grasp its concept. It was already created for older people, being a satirical show with lots of swearing, offensive jokes, allusive remarks, and violence.

6. Sausage Party

None of the movies produced throughout the years has held the title of “the worst cartoon” for kids, like the 2016 Sausage Party animated film. The film may seem like a childish story where food items speak and have a secret life. They perceive humans as their number one nemesis for turning them into cooked meals. 

It’s all fun and game with an entertaining viewpoint, yet the movie was rated crude and offensive. Despite the humorous side, this animated film contained sexual jokes and unnecessary violence. It’s another poorly received animation by a large audience group, especially by parents who assumed it was suitable for preteens and children. 

7. Pokémon

Pokémon World was a great fantasy to many young kids, and it has engrossed an enormous success since its release as a video game in 1996. Later on, the game was adapted into a Japanese anime and then card games. Although it seems like a kid-friendly cartoon with appealing characters and cartoon style for kids, many parents have shared their concerns regarding the game concept. 

The cartoon takes place in a virtual world, Pokémon, where many teenagers control their little cute monster-like creatures betting against each other. This ultimately leads to fantasy violence, where these little characters violently fight on behalf of their owners. Such violent scenes have curbed Pokemon among the worst cartoons that do more harm than good to little ones.

8. Coraline

Coraline is a gothic-styled animation that led many people to attribute it to Tim Burton when it’s not. The film has a dark ambience and is based on Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy horror novella. It’s easy to guess why this would be one of the worst cartoons for kids; if people think it’s Tim Burton’s, then it’s definitely too dark for children, tackling mature themes and ambiguous matters like death.

The movie follows the story of Coraline, a young girl who managed to discover the world behind our realm. These scenes where she gets stuck in the other world, where people supposedly die, are seamlessly creepy and unsettling. Despite being enjoyed by a large segment of people, it’s pretty disturbing for preteens to watch. 

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 Disney movie that was a pure piece of art in which Tim Burton and Disney collaborated. Tim Burton’s films and stories have always been popular with their dark twists and quite creepy characters, and this film is no exception. We find it hard to label this film as the worst cartoon for kids, but it’s not fit for young ages. 

As adults, we can easily see the story’s originality and find many parts quite appealing. However, besides the movie’s joyless ambience, a lot of violence is involved. For a starter, the characters’ depiction as dead with eyes falling out of their place is utterly disturbing. Add to this the creepy song that promotes violence, where evil kids from Halloween land kidnap Santa and want to burn him alive and chop his body into pieces. These elements make it among the worst cartoons for kids, but it’s pretty suitable for teens and adults. 

10. Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is an animated family series about a little pig, Peppa, who has daily adventures with her family. Given its basic story and animation style, it seems harmless and suitable for very young children. However, delving deeper below the surface, it’s easy to see that Peppa pig is one of the worst cartoons ever. 

Young children do pick on words and behaviour from their surroundings. Thus, if Peppa pig is something they’re exposed to too often, they may start using verbal aggression and disrespect their parents, as featured in the series. Every episode contains some sort of scorn for the male pig, Peppa’s father, including fat-shaming and offensive jokes. 

We firmly believe that young children can learn a lot from a good story with a positive moral, but the worst cartoons aren’t those with bad storylines but ones that send undesired messages. Although many of the cartoons on the list may contain great tales, they still promote more negative behaviour that can overshadow the positive impact. 

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