You may have noticed your friends familiar faces being replaced by cartoon characters from your own childhood today. Don’t worry. It’s not the rise of the toon armies.
It’s a sudden trend with a cause behind it. Like the day we were all extolled to wear purple in honor of gay teens, or update our Facebook statuses with the color of our bras, the cartoons profile pics serve an oblique social purpose: they’re intend to raise awareness about violence against children.
That’s a noble cause for our beloved cartoons from the 70s, cartoons from the 80s or cartoons from the 90s to take up. Are the Rugrats characters really going to quash domestic violence? Will Doug lead the charge against real-life bullies? Maybe Strawberry Shortcake’s sweetness will somehow just help us all be friends?
How is this supposed to work exactly?
Like all of Facebook’s social justice campaigns, this one is long on cute and short on substance. I’ll be surprised if a single child is saved from violence because her parents put a childhood cartoon favorite on their profile pic today.
But it’s a cute conversation starter that can get people talking and thinking about an important topic. Violence against children is, blessedly, on the decline, and has been since the 1970s. Too many children – ie: any – still suffer abuse at the hands of parents, other caregivers, strangers and bullies. Raising awareness about the problem is an important step to solving it.
Raising awareness isn’t the only step though. After you’ve changed your Facebook profile to your favorite cartoon character, check out Raising Voices for more resources on preventing violence against children, at home and in the developing world.
I think I’ll be a Cheetara for the day. How about you?
Photo: Thundercats screen shot