Superheroes are fascinating to children. They have special powers, protect and defend the weak and are capable of greatness.
But according to a news release from Brigham Young University, researchers found that young children who watch or read about superheroes are actually picking up on the aggressive themes rather than those that defend.
BYU Family Life professor Sarah Coyne found that children who frequently engage with superhero culture are more likely to be physically and relationally aggressive. They were neither more likely to defend kids being picked on bullies nor more likely to be pro-social.
Coyne also authored a study on the effects of Disney princesses on young children. She found that the culture perpetuated stereotypes, which could have damaging effects.
She says her findings don't mean parents should shield their kids from superheroes or princesses, but she does suggest moderation.
Parents are also encouraged to talk with their kids about the positives and negatives of the characters and themes they see in the media.