Those of you who keep up with me on Facebook had to see this post coming – right?!
The latest viral status update on Facebook is encouraging everyone to change their profile pictures to a cartoon character from their childhood to raise awareness of child abuse. What it fails to do is encourage people to educate themselves about what they are supposedly raising awareness about. So of course I balked at the idea and created a bit of an uproar on my Facebook wall.
On the job, I have to write with tact, empathy, and diplomacy. Most of the time, my people-pleasing attitude smiles and nods just so I don’t have people mad at me. I can’t stand it when anyone is mad at me. So every now and then, I have to make up for lost time and just let it out!
If I did choose a cartoon character for my profile pic, it would be this little stinker, Jerry! Anyone surprised?
So here we go…
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “child abuse”? I bet a large percentage of you picture kids being beaten. Oh, honey, abuse comes in many forms! Lets not forget neglect and verbal abuse. They may not feel verbal abuse physically, but words cut deep. No words at all – equally damaging. Drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and putting carcinogens from cigarettes into your body while pregnant are also abuse.
What can you do about it?
Sadly, there’s often little we can do because we don’t always see it happening. We’re aware that it does happen, but we aren’t aware enough to recognize the signs. On the other end of the spectrum, some people overreact to seeing a child get a whack on the butt. I won’t get into the whole “spare the rod…” discussion here, though. (Interesting article on that.)
My son found a great website that educates: Prevent Child Abuse America
I encourage you to go to that site and learn more! It has information on recognizing and preventing abuse. It also offers alternatives to lashing out for those on the brink of abusing.
I could have simply smiled and nodded and used Jerry here as my profile picture and not typed a word on my Facebook wall, but I don’t believe that a cartoon picture alone will raise the right kind of awareness. The viral status simply tells people to help fight child abuse by changing their profile pic. That’s not right. The status should have equipped the public with tools to educate and truly make people aware.
The LIVESTRONG bracelets are worn to show support of the cause. It would be better for the not-so-tech-savvy people to actually print LIVESTRONG.org on the bracelets to lead people to their website for more information but if you simply Google “livestrong”, there it is!
A poll in the NY Daily News asks “Are you changing your Facebook photo to stop child abuse?” This is poorly worded because we all know that displaying a picture is not going to stop anything. An overwhelming 72% answered “Yes! It was great to pick out my favorite cartoon character from yesteryear.” Read that again. “It was great to pick out my favorite cartoon character from yesteryear.” Fun! The only searching of the internet going on there is for pictures. How many people first chose to search the internet for information about child abuse. This is my argument! The whole controversy may have been somewhat muted if more information had been offered up front.
The problem could have been avoided if the campaign’s Facebook page was shared directly by clicking the Share link instead of copying and pasting a status update created by Lord only knows who. Blame it on operator error, I guess. To that person: See what you caused?! <wink & smile> That page does offer links to websites where you can educate yourself! Bravo!
Obviously, I’m not alone in my tirade. There’s a whole Facebook page dedicated to my point exactly!
The telephone game comes to mind. Things change along the way. Before getting swept up somewhere in the middle, do a little investigating. Arm yourself with the facts. Then, by all means, have fun with it! Is that too much to ask?