Monday, December 6, 2010

cartoon wars

Change your profile picture to a cartoon character if you want to. Post an obscure color-only status, or a deliberately sexually-charged status if you want to. But don't pretend that it will prevent cruelty to children or raise awareness about breast cancer or really do any good at all.

It's the blind leading the blind out there on the internoodle. "What? Bill Gates is going to send me eight kajillion dollars if I forward this to everyone I know? It must be true, it's on the internet! It must be true, this e-mail says it was on Good Morning America and it says it ALL IN CAPS!! People who write and/or forward mass e-mails and use all caps never lie!!" (although in this case there is an actual CNN article, blithely reporting a Facebook fad without even linking to an actual cause site that might actually help children)

Bullshit. Wake up, sheople. Don't just change your profile picture to stop child abuse, DO something!! Donate actual damn money to help! And then don't change your picture back to you because someone said it's a pedophile campaign, research it yourself! Snopes is on the case as always and calls BS on both the cartoon helpfulness and the pedophile threat. Ug.

Skepchick Rebecca Watson: Somewhere a father is raising his hand to beat his child when he decides to check on his Farmville first, and when he opens Facebook he sees Snarf from Thundercats and he thinks, "You know what? I think instead of beating my child I'll take up knitting or maybe origami." Mission accomplished, Facebook friend!


Look, if you want to bring awareness to the real and actual tragedy that is child abuse and child neglect, give some stats! Tell people how prevalent it is and how easy the signs can be to miss!

240 children are sexually abused every day in this country! Nearly five children die every day as a result of abuse and neglect! 1 of every 5 girls and 1 of every 7 boys is sexually abused before their 18th birthday!
An estimated 905,000 children were found to be the victims of some kind of child maltreatment in 2006! 22,000 children still die each day from preventable diseases!

See? Statistics actually bring awareness and draw attention; tangentially related cartoons do not, unless you add some stats or information to status. Vague "it's bad so don't do it" statements won't cut it. We need ACTION!!

If you want to actually DO something that makes a real difference, consider the following:
- Bivona Child Advocacy Center
- Child Health Site 100% of sponsor money goes to charity, all you have to do is click (seriously, just click. no money, no obligations: you just click)
- Child Abuse Prevention
- New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- UNICEF humanitarian relief for children

Bringing an end to child abuse and helping the victims are honorable and commendable causes and by all means you should do something toward that end, but you should actually DO something. Don't just change your profile picture or your status and act like that accomplished something, donate some actual money to a cause so you can actually help and actually feel validated. But please don't pretend that changing your picture to a cartoon or your status to a color does any good. Unless, of course, you live in imaginary fake website land.

ANECDOTE: I did not change my Facebook profile picture and yet somehow, amazingly, I did not beat any children all weekend! Nor did anyone in my family! Isn't that amazing?!

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