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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Cartoons from the past surface as Facebook profile pictures raising awareness for something

By Melissa Bell
Cartoons from the 90s
(MTV)

In November, a somewhat meaningless Facebook meme started making the rounds: People started putting up their favorite childhood cartoon picture in place of their profile picture to celebrate their childhood. The note passed from friend to friend, according to AllFacebook.com, read:

Change your profile picture to your favorite cartoon from when you were a kid. The goal of this game is not to see a human picture on Facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories until Monday. PLAY AND PASS ALONG!

Now, the meme has resurfaced, only this time with a charitable twist. A new note is making the rounds:

From now until December 7, change your profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood. The objective of this is not to see any human faces on facebook but an invasion of memories for the fight against Violence to Children. Remember we were kids too.

The meme has exploded, with mad searches for favorite characters turning Facebook into a generational spat: Are you a child of the '70s and going for Boris and Natasha? Are you a child of the '80s and opt for Strawberry Shortcake? Are you a child of the '90s and stick up a picture of Doug or the Rugrats?

It seems to have gotten its start in Greece and Cyprus, according to the Know Your Meme Web site. But it got the charitable boost when it switched to English.

Unlike the Facebook "I like it on..." status change, which raised awareness for breast cancer, I am slightly doubtful about how a grinning Animaniac will help fight violence to children. A Reddit user calls it "Slacktivism" -- taking a stab at activism for a cause, but in a very lazy way.

At least the "I like it on..." may have encouraged a woman or two to administer a self-exam. But will seeing Scooby Doo on your friend's Facebook page encourage you to foster children? Donate time to an orphanage? Send in dimes to raise money for prenatal care?

If so, more power to you. But I'm guessing this is more an exercise in nostalgia than charity.

Update: In a turn for the odd, the seemingly harmless meme got a backlash from people afraid the whole trend was a ploy to help pedophiles friend young children. The Surge Desk reports a new status update has cropped up saying:

ATTN: The group asking everyone to change their profile pictures to their favorite cartoon character is actually a group of pedophiles. They are doing it because kids will accept their friend request faster if they see a cartoon picture. It has nothing to do with supporting child abuse and violence, IT'S ON TONIGHT'S NEWS. Copy and paste this to your status, let everyone know now !!!

The Surge Desk and AllFacebook.com both report this is a false rumor about the wildly popular meme.

By Melissa Bell  | December 3, 2010; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'WikiLeaked,' Notre Dame sex assault case, missing Catholic priests and more
Next: Video Girl Barbie a pedophile's tool? FBI says possibly

Comments

How is this charity except in the broadest stupid 'awareness' sense of the word. I don't play along with all these stupid Facebook memes because they all are silly and futile.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Children who are the victims of violence are not in a position to help themselves. They rely on the adults in their lives to realize something is wrong and be their advocates. Often child abuse goes unreported simply because people are too busy and wrapped up in their own lives to notice what is happening in the lives of the children around them. If not seeing any human faces on facebook reminds people to take the time and really see the people they interact with in the real world, that is a good thing. Awareness of a problem is the first step in getting a child help.

Posted by: sg0544 | December 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see anything about a charity per se but certainly it is charitable to help raise awareness and child abuse is a worthy cause to be apprised of. In the meantime we'll enjoy a few childhood memories for our efforts, what's wrong with that?

Posted by: jborst | December 3, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

People are already aware of child abuse. If not, then they have to be brain dead. I agree that children rely on adults to protect them and to help them. With that said, abused children don't just want people to change their facebook pictures. They need tangible, REAL help. Awareness is nice, but the point of this gimmick gets lost when everyone starts discussing their favorite cartoons instead of providing helpful links and information in regards to child abuse.

Posted by: cheryllll | December 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

How about instead of posting stupid pictures we talk about the woman who murdered her baby for crying while she was trying to play Farmville on Facebook?

I hate these memes. Though they do a good job of showing me which of my "friends" are lemmings.

Posted by: mjp3md | December 4, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The thought crossed my mind about this being an armchair activist move but the way I see it, the worst that can happen is; if you have an abuser among your friends they at least now know you do not approve. If it is somebody who respects you, maybe they will think twice before striking a child. But I am also a pro-activist for this cause within my community.

Posted by: one_princess_aurora | December 4, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

We "facebookers" may have only changed our photos for now, but the exercise at least has raised awareness. I for one, have posted this article on my page, researched for a child abuse prevention website, donated, and have posed the link to that site to ask other to actively support prevention while enjoying the cartoon exercise. Wearing a pink ribbon for breast cancer may not actually help a woman, but it does send a visual message. If posting cartoons is simply just another form of marketing for the cause....is it so bad?

Posted by: clemonstracy | December 5, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

As a mother I believe that just maybe those people who post a cartoon character on Facebook will be making a difference to help stop violence toward children. It may not be monetary but maybe it will heighten awareness of child abuse and stop someone from hitting their child in anger when they log onto to Facebook to see all the cartoon characters that their friends posted who are supporting the cause. Maybe for a short while the abusers will have a conscious and NOT lash out at their children seeing the support from friends on their computer screens.

Posted by: milesinohio | December 5, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

As a mother I believe that just maybe those people who post a cartoon character on Facebook will be making a difference to help stop violence toward children. It may not be monetary but maybe it will heighten awareness of child abuse and stop someone from hitting their child in anger when they log onto to Facebook to see all the cartoon characters that their friends posted who are supporting the cause. Maybe for a short while the abusers will have a conscious and NOT lash out at their children seeing the support from friends on their computer screens.

Posted by: milesinohio | December 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Now the word on Facebook is that this whole thing was a set up created by pedophiles so children would be their friend. Sounds a little paranoid to me. Anybody know anything about this?

Posted by: mamabuche | December 5, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone,

With the hope of channeling all of this enthusiasm to stop child abuse, I started a cause with the goal of raising some money to help children who are suffering from abuse right now!

It would be really great if you all could join the cause and share the link with your friends. And for those of you who are able, please donate!

Here's the link: www.causes.com/carebears

Posted by: ktusznio | December 5, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure either if this campaign will lead to awareness of a serious issue for children around the world, but at least we are creating and continuing conversation. Hopefully its not about mindlessly searching for a photo of a cartoon, and more about visiting the websites that matter.

Posted by: commgradstudent12 | December 6, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

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