So, lately I've noticed that several of my Facebook friends have changed their profile pics to 1980s cartoon characters. The idea, I suppose, is that if I change my profile pic of my really cute 8-month-old baby to one of a Smurf, those who see it will be reminded of their own childhoods and think about how awful child abuse is and spur them to help. Because my really cute baby apparently makes them think of Cheez Whiz or something.
But does taking a stand on Facebook actually make a difference? Do people who change their profile pic really take action or cause others to do so? At least one source, Live Science, says no. Child abuse is an enormous tragedy. It's also very complex. How does one busy Average Jane even start fighting child abuse. Will the Smurf in my profile pic catch a drunken dad's fist before it slams into his son's nose?
Is the campaing well-intentioned? Yes. Of course it is. And it is likely producing some small results. Right now I am using my time to talk about the issue when I could be talking about something else, like Britney Spears. That does matter. But if you want millions of people to make a difference, break it down in small steps. Live Science suggests that Facebook users who change their profil pic donate a dollar to an organization that fights it. It would be an easy way to raise $250,000 - enough to put some sort of dent in the problem.
And this is just funny: