Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hot Topic: Facebook campaigns

This past week there was much ado about people changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters to raise awareness about child abuse. First,  it was criticized because how in the world is changing a profile picture really going to end child abuse? Then a rumor circulated that it was really a ploy by a pedophile to gain access to more children via Facebook.

To the first point - Everyone discusses how  the fundamental weakness of all Facebook campaigns from changing your status to fight cancer to not posting for a day to this latest incarnation is that these campaigns won't actually change anything unless you do something else. I mostly agree. However, I do believe there is value in the power of prayer or positive thinking.  I believe that the fact that all those cartoon character folks spent a moment thinking about the prevention of child abuse in a way that they wouldn't have without the campaign will manifest itself somehow. Will this be enough to end child abuse? Absolutely not. But it may flip a switch that makes someone send money the next time she gets a solicitation from a non-profit that supports children or intervene at the mall when an adult is being abusive to a child.  Prayers and positive thoughts matter.

To the second point - children should not be on Facebook. Children who should not be on Facebook should definitely not be accepting friend requests from people they don't know - whether the profile picture is a cartoon character or not.

What do you think?

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