Childhood cartoons on Facebook | Child abuse needs more than this

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 By

Cartoons from the '80s

Many Facebook users are using childhood cartoons as profile pictures, but real action is needed to end child abuse. Image: Flickr / akuchling / CC-BY

In yet another Facebook “cause” blast, users are changing their profile to pictures of cartoon characters. Cartoons from the 80′s and cartoons from the 90′s are proving most popular. This is a move intended to bring awareness to child abuse.

Pictures of cartoon characters as profile pictures on Facebook

“Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on FB. Join the fight against child abuse. Copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same.” This Facebook status has been making its rounds for the last few days. Many people are taking their friends up on this movement, using childhood cartoons from the ’80s and ’90s as their pictures. Popular cartoons have included Strawberry Shortcake, Mighty Mouse and Pinky and the Brain.

Childhood cartoons to fight child abuse

This is not the first time that Facebook profile pictures and Facebook statuses have been used to raise awareness for various issues. Often, there is a specific issue chosen for awareness. However, these status and profile picture updates often do not include any specific instructions for how to improve or take action on the issue. There are no specific statistics on how many people have changed their profile pictures to childhood cartoons, but there appear to be a significant number of people participating.

Action beyond childhood cartoons

Childhood cartoons from the ’80s and ’90s can be a great reminder of better times, but they don’t actually help end child abuse. Bringing awareness to an issue and taking action on an issue are two different things. While awareness is great, without some action beyond that, trends such as the childhood cartoons to fight child abuse idea are nothing beyond a shill — something that makes you feel good but doesn’t actually do anything. If you want to take action on childhood abuse, you need to do something other than find a cartoon from the ’80s to use as your profile picture. Try making a call or donation to support the National Child Abuse Hotline or at least including 1-800-4-A-CHILD in your Facebook status. Until you take real action, a childhood cartoon is just a picture, not advocacy.

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This post has 13 comments

  1. Priscilla says:

    I never ever would have found this article if it were not for the fb status thing that happened months ago. So obviously it does something. Alot of people aren't aware of how to help when a child is being abused but some DO. Talk about putting a negative spin on a positive gesture. Hope I forget this site.

  2. Natty says:

    Well, because of this "not enough" FB act I am here, reading the article and thinking what I can do beyond that profile picture. So how can you say it's not working? I am sure there are plenty more people who say "what IS IT about this profile cartoon thing.. I need to know what's going on". So I would say – it's better than not doing it… And now al these discussions might result into a creation of some very efficient new fund that will donate and fight for the cause…

  3. Yeah says:

    Cry more. You are just a negative person.

  4. Liane says:

    GREAT article and so true.

  5. @RockingJamboree says:

    Mary, you are wrong. What you have said is, "What you are doing isn't enough." The problem with that is, nothing we do is EVER enough. If we donate a dollar, somebody will say, why didn't you donate $10? If we adopt a child, somebody will point out that there a many more children waiting for adoption or foster care.

  6. Caboricans says:

    I believe they should donate 1.00 for each person that has changed the profile pic to the child abuse awareness

  7. Sandi says:

    Childhood abuse isn't new. And of course it's a very serious issue. Yes, fb brought attention to it. But the people who make the changes don't follow fb statistics. April is national child abuse awareness month. I didn't see one post about it in April. Now b/c someone did what their friends did, they want to feel all good about themselves. If that's the case, donate or volunteer. I'm sick of slacktivism.

    "Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism) is a portmanteau formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is considered a pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts also tend to dilute awareness campaigns and require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacktivism

  8. Florencia says:

    Well I'm in college. I don't have money to be donating to every single cause I support and believe in (which are many!). Yes I would like to help, but I can't. I don't necessarily think by changing my picture to Pikachu, it will stop child abuse, but it's cute and at least the thought counts. So can I please get a break? This article made me feel guilty for not being able to donate money… that I don't have.

    • maryrice says:

      Forencia-
      Not everyone can give money to a cause, but you can do something else. There are always volunteer opportunities, or if you are overloaded with studies you could at least put information about how to volunteer or take action on your FB status to help others. It is not all about the money.

  9. Helen says:

    Thank you!!! I couldn't believe so many of my friends were in on this. Is there any evidence that an established organization is even behind it? I'm all about awareness, but this is very ineffectual.

  10. Jon-Jon Jonii'Boy Hopkins says:

    I see it, but If all these articles are writing about it, You could say that it did help in a way. Everyone is writing about the same thing, People On Facebook Change There Default Image To A Cartoon. With soo manny articles bashing facebook, you could say that they did what they were set out to do. now people have to read an take it in and do something. Facebook can't do it all now, come on.

  11. Franrose says:

    You make a very, very valid point, Mary. I, too, have changed my default photo on Facebook to one of my favorite cartoon characters from my childhood in support of this awareness. But you're right; it's just not enough. The number of child deaths due to child abuse and neglect on a regular basis has increased dramatically over the past years. I think people are doing this because, well, it is for a good cause (which is why I did it), but also because no one is willing to get our of their comfort zones or go out of their way to actually do something more beneficial to this cause. Changing a default image on Facebook requires almost no effort at all — which makes it the perfect cop-out solution. So I definitely see your angle on this. Very good article.

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