Is imagining that cartoons are real, normal?

I was having a chat with my niece the other day about the things she believed in:

  • Fairies.
  • Magic.
  • Lions (but apparently they only appear in the zoo).

As well as these things she told me that she believed in God. She also pointed out that he was the only one she’d ever talked to. Which was encouraging.

There were other things which she told me were not real:

  • Monsters.
  • Ghosts.
  • Things in films.

Then I asked her about TV programmes that she watched on CBeebies and other such things. Did she think they were real? I gave here an example, “Charlie and Lola, do you think that Charlie and Lola are real?”. Let me point out that Charlie and Lola are clearly drawings, they are cartoon things. However they do have very well characterised voices and other well chosen qualities.

Indigo said that Charlie and Lola were real. She said that she had never met them, but they were definitely real. This isn’t purely a case of her thinking everything on TV is real, like I pointed out she does not think most films are real. So why does she draw an exception with Charlie and Lola?

I’m sure a lot of you psychologists, or even better child psychologists, or ideally just a psychic could tell me why she thinks these things. If you know anything please tell me.

I assume it’s purely due to the fact that she holds a particular affinity to those two characters. They are her age, they think and act like her. It’s just not in a child’s mind to think that something is not real—except for when it’s scary.

They are drawn and animated well but I still can’t get how she imagines meeting them in her mind. I guess she just imagines meeting a cartoon. I don’t know. I am trying to remember whether I thought cartoons were real or whether I knew they were drawn. Maybe it’s possible to hold both views—to know they are cartoons but to still think they’re real.

Ah, the questions.


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