Awareness Alone is Detrimental

The latest trend on Facebook is to change one’s profile picture to a favorite childhood cartoon character. The goal is to raise awareness of child abuse. Danger: Just raising awareness of a problem does not help solve the problem.

ChildHelp provides important statistics on their website. “A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.” Every individual in the United States knows someone who has been abused. Everyone knows that child abuse exists. Abuse still exists; therefore, lack of awareness is not the problem. Worse still, if people post their happy cartoon character and think that they’re doing their just portion then they will probably stop with just the cartoon and not do anything about the actual problem.

The problem is that few people are willing to enact solutions to stop child abuse.

The cartoon is a gimmick. The popularity of the cartoon means that it’s good gimmick. Any gimmick has to lead to action in order to be helpful – like how the Geico Gecko causes us to get a Geico quote on car insurance.

Use the gimmick to encourage genuine action. If you change your profile picture to that of a childhood cartoon, do not just leave it at that. Commit to posting a link to a useful organization. Initiate discussions about legislative changes. Donate to a helpful and active group. Talk about ways that individuals can voluntarily support victims and punish abusers.

Your profile picture alone will not help the child who is too damaged to bother crying. Do something with the attention your cartoon brings in order to actively help that child.

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