Child Jumps off Building to Imitate Cartoon Character

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. makeshift / ˈmeɪkˌʃɪft / (adj) – being used as a temporary replacement

    We used the towels as makeshift blankets.

  2. break one’s fall / breɪk wʌnz fɔl / (idiom) – to interrupt or stop someone or something from falling right away

    The mattress on the floor broke my fall.

  3. child-friendly / ˌtʃaɪldˈfrɛnd li / (adj) – being appropriate or good for children

    This park has child-friendly equipment.

  4. screen time / skrin taɪm / (n) – time spent watching television

    I’m trying to control my children’s screen time.

  5. off the hook / ɔf ðə hʊk / (idiom) – to escape trouble or possible punishment

    The police let me off the hook when I explained what really happened.


Read the text below.

A seven-year-old boy from Suzhou, China fell off the tenth floor of a building while trying to imitate a cartoon character.

The boy was reportedly alone at home when he decided to jump and use an umbrella as a makeshift parachute. He was immediately brought to the Affiliated Children’s Hospital at Suzhou University. According to reports, it was not the umbrella but a power line that broke his fall. The boy survived and was eventually removed from the hospital’s critical list.

Such an incident can give an insight on how children’s cartoons and shows may impact the viewers’ behavior. Well-known TV show Power Rangers, for example, has often been listed as one of the culprits in promoting violence among young viewers.

Even seemingly child-friendly cartoons have raised concerns among parents. For instance, the misbehaving characters of kids’ show Peppa Pig have been cited as having a negative influence on children’s attitudes.

Experts remind parents to be responsible in monitoring their children’s screen time. This includes examining what children watch, how long they watch it, and how they respond to what they see. Parents are also warned of cartoons that show violence and destruction as mere playfulness.

However, producers are still not off the hook when it comes to the issue. Producers of the Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat have been held partially responsible after a boy severely hurt two other children. He was reportedly pretending to be the Big Bad Wolf – a villain from the said cartoon.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How do you think TV shows influence children’s behavior?
• How can parents monitor what their children watch?

Discussion B

• Should producers be responsible for incidents like the ones in the article? Why or why not?
• Do you think TV censorship can prevent similar incidents from happening? Why or why not?