You're first impression is you're wrong. I don't disagree with you. Just looking at a few up and coming movies and there's enough there to prove your point. How to Train Your Dragon 2. Minions. Big Hero 6. Children are the only real demographic for these movies. That's before we see the conveyor of shows churned out from Cartoon Network and Boomerang. (That is pre watershed).
But I stand by my point. Animation is not for kids.
This is awfully vague. I'm specifically referring to the art form of animation (it is mistaken as a genre, even on Moviepilot). For too long, we've seen the big players use animation to captivate the eyes of little kids and families. In a way, this has developed a system that whenever a film mainly uses stop motion, CGI & any kind of cel shading, it's something that had children in mind. However in all honesty, animation isn't intended for kids and never was.
Animation in the silent movie era was based off of comic strips from the 1920s. A lot of these had humour that was aimed directly towards adults, instead of children. However in 1930, with the introduction of the needed 'Motion Picture Production Code' or Hays Code (named after Chief Censor, William Harrison Hays, Sr.), much of the animation filtered adult content down, until it became suitable for family audiences. This turned into the mainstream animation that we see everyday on our television sets and cinema screens.
By the late 1960s, an animator, Ralph Bakshi (Spider-Man , Coonskin) and a producer, Steve Krantz developed Bakshi Productions. Not only did this spur on the amount of female animators, but Bakshi Productions worked to find an alternative to mainstream animation by making content that was aimed at adults by nature.
If we cross the pond to Japan and take a good look at anime, you find a reoccurring message. Especially when considering the adult anime enthusiasts (which for decency, won't be mentioned here). But simply looking at a few of the popular productions in the West like Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto & Bleach, there wasn't much "family focus" in the production of these programs.
Hayao Miyazaki, Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli uses animation to explore deeper issues such as the transformation from childhood to adulthood, the power of love and affection and a post-modernist nostalgia for a reformation of traditional values. This is uncommon for your typical animated production like Spongebob Squarepants or Fairly Odd Parents.
Maybe one day we could see a transformation in the way audiences perceive animation. This could encourage the change in looking to it as a form of artistic expression rather than a genre aimed specifically towards children.