Let’s change our Facebook profile pictures to encourage child abuse

At first, I was a little confused as to why everyone had been changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters, until I saw the “official” reason as to why people were doing it:

“Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday (Dec.6) there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is for violence against children.”

First of all … the instructions say this is for violence against children. It does not say “for raising awareness”, “for a fight against”, or anything in relation to combatting child abuse. It simply says for violence against children. So basically, everyone is changing their profile pictures to show their support for people abusing children, if the above instruction is to be taken. I’m pretty sure all the pedophiles and child beaters out there are rejoicing right now because their evil ploy has worked to brainwash people into supporting their cause.

“But Doro, it’s pretty obvious that they meant it was supposed to be against violence against children. You’re just being a kill joy and taking everything too literally,” I hear someone say. Well, that’s just what I like to do.

Anyway, let’s just pretend that this campaign was for a fight against child abuse. I don’t understand how a bunch of people on the internet posting up pictures of their favourite childhood cartoon is going to do anything for the children getting beaten. Do you really think pedophiles and people who beat their kids are going to think, “Oh no! A bunch of random people are posting up pictures of make-believe characters!! I better stop abusing these kids before something happens!!!”  Ohhh, why didn’t the police and prosecutors think of this earlier. The authorities truly do underestimate the power of Facebook.

In addition to not doing anything to stop the violence, how is posting a bunch of one’s childhood memories helping the actual children who are getting abused?  Effectively, people are just saying “This is a wonderful memory from my childhood. You wouldn’t know anything about enjoying childhood though, because you were too busy getting abused. I hope you’re jealous right now”. Great job, everyone!

This is my picture for violence against children.

This is my picture for violence against children.

And of course the third possibility of this enigmatic campaign – to raise awareness. This part pretty much failed because I, and many other people, had no idea why everyone began changing their pictures to begin with. Furthermore, everyone knows child abuse exists. This isn’t raising awareness in any way, because it offers no factual information whatsoever and absolutely no information is given on how one could actually do something to help those in need. Because really, how many people are you helping by changing your profile picture? None.

My point is — this whole thing is purely for fun. Yes, it is for fun that people are changing their profile pictures. It is for fun that I’m actually looking at these pictures and saying “Oh, I remember that!” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having fun. What annoys me is that someone felt the need to justify this fun by attaching “This is for child abuse”, as if adding some kind of noble cause to the end of something will compel more people to take part in their trend. I bet you didn’t know that this game started in Greece but had little popularity, so then some person stole it and just attached the “This is for child abuse” and spread it around which caused it to be as big as it is now.

People, it’s okay to have fun – you don’t need a good ’cause’ to have fun. It would be like me going out and getting smashed on a Friday night, feeling guilty about it, then saying “I did it for all the starving kids in Africa”. My point is that people shouldn’t have fun and participate in the game under the pretense of helping someone out, either for the reason of inflating their own ego because they’re under the impression they’re actually helping or merely because they want to justify their fun. Anybody who genuinely feels that they’ve made a difference by participating in this game needs to wake up.

The idea of the game was good, until some idiot decided to take advantage of other people’s misfortunes in order to popularise and spread their trend around. I’m not hating on the people who participated, I’m hating on the actual trend because it is trivialising the plight of those abused children and becoming an excuse to spread a Facebook trend.

PS: I don’t care if no one agrees with me. By all means, I welcome any opinion of the contrary. If anyone can give me a reason as to how this trend is helping anyone in the slightest, I would like to hear it.

EDIT: On a serious and less satirical note, seeing as how this post has been pretty much useless and was written for pure reading enjoyment (and drawing people’s attention away from a Facebook fad and thinking about what they’re actually doing which was my intention to begin with), please do your part in actually addressing the problem. Preventing child abuse should go beyond 6 December and satisfying yourself with nostalgic feelings isn’t really helping anybody.

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About lildoro

I'm a uni student who procrastinates way too much. I like saying stuff about things.

Posted on December 5, 2010, in Mindless Dribble and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Thanks for thinking it through so clearly.

    100% agreement.

  2. LOL “I did it for all the starving kids in Africa”.

    I agree which is why I didn’t change mine BUT I’ve seen variations on the reason: ‘This is in protest of violence against children’ and ‘this is for a campaign against violence on children’.

    Generally I dislike it when people change their profile pics to something that isn’t them (pets, cartoons, locations). Though I did do it once but only because of the title of the event “Disneyganger week”. The idea of Disney gangers made me lol.

  3. your post somehow shed some enlightenment and made me realized i have overlooked the last sentence “this is for violence against children.” you’re right, literally taken, it’s a campaign encouraging violence. when i first seen the written message and video, the idea of the profile pic change doesn’t make sense to me… but then again, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a cartoon character as a profile pic since we all live in this cyber world full of pretensions. i’ll admit to justifying by thinking i’m doing this to awaken the being “kid at heart” and building awareness… regardless of any posted campaign message or video… though these served as triggers. i don’t think at this point there’s a definite right or wrong… so let’s just leave it to the idea that we’re entitled to our own opinions and interpretations. 🙂

  4. Instead of spending a page bagging the abovementioned FB action, you could have spent a page raising our awareness on issues of violence against children, or time at your local school helping out with literacy/numeracy, or helping to raise money for a relevant charity.

    But I guess an opportunity to feel clever and superior is one not to be missed.

    While I generally try to avoid personal jibes … you are an ineffectual loser 😦

  5. PS In the past this subject was not considered, or discussed; it remained hidden. For victims of abuse who are on FB it may mean something that people are now showing their support – if only in a small way. Baby steps …

  6. @Carmel, well instead of bagging on someone’s post about it, YOU could have spent a page raising awareness because I think that would be a better use of your time than calling someone an ineffectual loser. In the past it may have not been considered but it isn’t right now either – most people don’t even know why people are changing their profile pictures and those who do don’t really concern themselves with child abuse but rather bringing back childhood memories.
    And “that people are now showing their support” – if you meant supporting the victim, well how does changing one’s profile picture support them in any way? How would hundreds of people changing pictures to childhood TV shows bring any comfort to them? That those people had a nice childhood but they didn’t? Exactly.

  7. … I work in an indigenous community with children, this is in my spare time.
    Google child abuse, indigenous communities if you require information.
    No, of course it changes nothing in concrete terms for the victims, but it makes people think for half a second – those who change their pictures know why (even if it is with some fuzzy sentimentality). Those who see those pictures may or may not know why – some might find out – I would hope that some victims may view these small gestures and get a sense of solidarity and comfort from that – it may in a small way reduce their sense of isolation.
    Or nothing could happen … then no one would be having these conversations.

  8. The rate of child abuse/incest in my small N/W New South Wales community is approximately 80% – it is generational – it is socially devastating.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my post. But with all due respect, people are not doing these Facebook gestures to show their support – because if that were true, why is it ending on the 6 December? Why is everyone only showing their support until tomorrow? Shouldn’t consideration for abused children be a perpetual thing? The reality is, as soon as the fad ends, everyone is going to change their pictures back and everybody is going back to their non-caring selves.

      I didn’t feel clever or superior writing that post — it’s because I’m probably one of the few (if not one of the only) people out of my Facebook friends who have even fuelled any discussion as to the true reason of this ‘campaign’ and that in itself is drawing people away from the superficialities of a Facebook fad, hopefully giving them something to actually think about rather than blindly jumping on the bandwagon. I may come across as sarcastic and snide but that is merely to prove a point, as a common literary technique in modern society.

      I admire your efforts for your community that you’ve listed but you don’t know me and you’re quick to judge that I’m apathetic, because just as another was quick to criticise you for not contributing efforts when you really have, how do you know that I haven’t as well? The reason as to why I didn’t mention my own personal endeavours in my post was because I didn’t feel the need to feed my own ego by telling the whole world about them. But if you really wanted to know, I’m involved in an international leadership program at my university that promotes human rights, including that of children. And yes, that is in my own time.

      But don’t worry, I’m completely used to people over the internet baselessly insulting me 🙂

  9. PS: For a child, fantasy- in the form of cartoons – often provides an essential escape fom the horror of abuse – maybe that’s why a seemingly trivial and nonsense theme was chosen!

  10. Didn’t mean to suggest you did nothing of value for your community, just that your time may have been better spent providing information – perhaps about the cause you support – rather than criticising the apparently meaningless gestures of others. Although how you can know the motivations of all those who have participated?
    I was not blowing my own trumpet – just responding to Celia’s comment – perhaps establishing credentials – ego does not motivate me – I “work” with kids – I respond to you on this page “in my own time” (among other things) – Unfortunately, people’s attention spans are disturbingly short – we have months for prostate cancer, days for peace etc. But, I would still argue it is better than nothing at all.

  11. hey it’s the holidays so how about every one stop bickering at each other over facebook and try and play well with each others!! just saying…tis’ the season people!!!!

  12. Change your
    facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To
    not see a human face on fb till Monday, December 6. Join the fight
    against child abuse & copy & paste to your status to invite
    friends to do the same! and this is actually the one i saw which clearly states join the fight against children not this is for violence for children.

  13. Wow everyone needs to relax. I am pretty sure this article was written satirically, not as a seripus attempt to actually stop child abuse like that fb game was. That was the point of this article and somehow I am the only one to have seen that. So everyone just needs to get a sense of humor and enjoy what was written instead of getting offended. The “violence for children” thing was obviously meant to be satirical and despite what the above poster said, that was the message that I had seen everywhere.

    I thought this article it was very well written and funny, and I don’t get why people can’t look to the writer’s substance instead of getting all worked up about child abuse. It seems as soon as someone criticizes something with a noble cause, they are immediately bashed.

    And to those saying the writer should have done something about the problem rather than complain, criticism is not about fixing another’s person for them. Criticism is about pointing out flaws and strengths so that others may see something for what it’s worth. Do movie critics go and campaign to try to get better movies on the screens? Do journalists go out there and try to solve crimes? No, they don’t. They create public discussion, which in turn raises awareness. And this post has definitely created more awareness than any silly facebook game has, so kudos to you.

    Mr Happy.

  14. At the risk of being Little Miss JoyKill…
    Humour and child abuse just don’t rest easily with me – I doubt the kids out here would appreciate the clever satire. And I’ll remind them that even though they probably will have another sh**y christmas full of drunkeness and violence – that they should “lighten up” and “be happy”!
    Again, I merely suggested time might be better spent promoting the cause rather than critically analysing how it’s done.
    Perhaps you all speak from privilidged positions – perhaps you don’t remember when this was NEVER mentioned.
    But I totally acknowledge that this has generated some lively discussion – which is always worthwhile 🙂

  15. I have no idea what actually was behind this campaign; however, it could pay to stop for a moment and ponder not childabuse, but the fact that there are groups that have strong interests in exaggerating and constantly focusing on certain problems. Notably, there are number of such that are directly or indirectly related to sex, including claims about child abuse/pornography and the “one in every four college women are raped” lie. (See also e.g. a previous post of mine.)

    Obviously, there are other examples to be found, e.g. relating to terrorism.

  16. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336035/Facebook-cartoon-character-campaign-NSPCC-charity-says.html?ITO=1490

    That’s the one I saw.

    Apparently it’s a hoax (this particular one) and even some rumours about it being a tool for pedophiles to find out who on fb is a kid or adult…. i hope that isnt true… cos that is soooo low..

  17. the campaign was supported and criticized… after all these hype, its purpose has been served… “raising awareness”… which brought everyone’s attention to make a united stand for the causes of both opposing groups of netizens. the message did inspire us to care more for the children by recalling our best memories of childhood. another good end result is reminding us again on the danger of internet esp. in social networks where child predators can lurk to victimize these kids’ innocence.

  18. Interesting to watch this conversation as a survivor of child abuse. I get where you are coming from Carmel, but seriously! The situation in Indigenous Australia is horrific, but flaming people who want to discuss options for real change rather than participate in scatty FB maybe scams isn’t helping a single one of those children you work with.

    Each individual recovers from these things in their own way and the path to healing the wounds of abuse can include humour. I wonder how you reacted to this ad from the Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse that we saw on Aussie TV screens a few years back: http://www.break.com/index/creepy-yet-effective-anti-child-abuse-ad.html
    I thought it was a shocking and chilling but incredibly effective way of getting the point across. It inspired national debate and encouraged a whole lot of people to question their own motives.

    I also started a conversation about child abuse among my FB friends, possibly the only good thing to come out of the ridiculous ‘change your pictures’ campaign.

    While I am all for healing scars through humour I am 100% against the ‘me-too-ism’ of these kind of movements. People did not change their pictures out of any concern for abused children, but to jump on the latest FB bandwagon. I imagine myself at fifteen, watching a torrent of alleged support all around me and wondering why none of these people would raise a finger to help me out of a very real hell.

    A friend of mine whipped up a lovely little micro fiction, which I think says it all:
    http://hyperhedonism.blogspot.com/2010/12/can-we-talk-about-violence-against.html

    • Thanks for your insight, Angela. That was a pretty disturbing ad.

      And as suspected, all the cartoon pictures are down. I guess a fleeting, pretentious “awareness” is better than no awareness.

  19. “The situation in Indigenous Australia is horrific, but flaming people who want to discuss options for real change rather than participate in scatty FB maybe scams isn’t helping a single one of those children you work with.” – Angela

    Are you saying it is better to participate in scatty FB scams rather than discuss options for real change??? I’m sure that’s not what you’re saying.

    • Playing semantics now, Carmel? I think you just want someone to fight with.

      I’ve said what I need to say and will not participate any further. I’m sure you have very important work to do.

  20. Do anything … do everything … don’t do nothing!
    Actually everyone who reads this – it would be really helpful if you wrote to Director General, DOC’s with a copy to the Minister complaining about their dismal failure in my region. To the police – complaining about their dismal failure too.

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