Are Cartoons Actually Stopping Child Abuse?

It’s a phenomenon that seems to be gaining momentum on Facebook; many of my friends have spent the past few days changing their profile pictures and updating their statuses:

According to a Facebook Page that appears to be promoting the profile pic switch, this is the Campaign to End Violence Against Children – Childhood Cartoon Faces.

“Until Monday (Dec. 6), there should be no human faces on Facebook but an invasion of memories. This is for eliminating violence against children,” the page says. The undisclosed campaign creator asks Facebook users to change their profile pic and share the above statement in their status.

via Cartoons Invade Facebook to End Violence Against Children on Mashable.

Kick-ass stache, bro

I’m not going to beat around the bush; I think this “campaign” is a load of bullshit that ends up doing a disservice to the social issue that it is claiming to raise awareness of. Recent campaigns that have used the internet to propel their message include women updating their Facebook status with the colour of their bra (to get women thinking about a breast exam to catch breast cancer as early as possible) or the wildly popular Movember (to raise awareness and money in the name of prostate cancer).

Where these two campaigns differ from the current cartoon craze is that they both have a very distinct end goal in mind; to inspire people to be proactive about getting checked for two of the most common cancers plaguing young people. What message does this cartoon campaign promote? The inference is that changing your profile picture to a cartoon character will, somehow, be a positive move to eliminate violence against children.

Ok, great.  Facebookers change their picture… now what?  For 99.99% of people who change their picture in the time prior to December 6th, they will do absolutely nothing else.  And why is that?  Two reasons.

  1. The campaign has no direction. There isn’t even a link to the Facebook page promoting the campaign in any of the status updates.  If there were, people could actually visit it to see that there are links to websites of organizations devoted to the stopping child abuse and donate some money.
  2. The issue of violence against children is extremely complex, often with roots in a myriad of social problems like poverty, alcohol and/or drug abuse or… well, the list goes on and on. With such a complex problem, trying to solve it or make a positive step is a daunting task that could require generations to even be able to make a dent.

I guess that one could say it has maybe inspired people to talk about it, at least.  Raising awareness is a first step to making change.  I’d say that, more likely, it gives people a false sense of satisfaction that they are doing something positive for the cause when, in fact, they haven’t done anything at all.

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    About El Jefe

    He's been called a despot, a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a dumbass and "one sexy bitch". The bottom line is that it's all true... and it's a full-time gig.

    Posted on December 5, 2010, in Internet and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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