It Pays to Check the Label

The invitation to change my Facebook profile pic was enticing.  For who can resist doing something so mundane like putting up a picture of your favorite cartoon character on your Facebook profile picture for a good cause (making a statement against child violence)?  Many in my Friends list did it. I would do it.

But I chose not to.  This despite and in spite of the fact that when I googled a picture of the earliest cartoon hero I admired, memories of role playing with my cousins and childhood friends came flooding in.  I was Lance, the second-in-command and pilot of Red Lion, the right arm of Voltron.

I chose not to because something inside me wants to know why and how such an act could make a difference.  The reposted message that spurred the mass action does not offer adequate information.  December for me is World Aids Day (1), Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion (8), and Christmas (25) and everything that goes with it.  I thought awareness campaigns for children come in October because that’s when I watched Rated PG.  It wasn’t a biggie, I just wanted to know.

Fortunately, google search revealed the following article to me.  It’s by a certain Mr. Joseph Ubalde of The Daily IIJ (International Institute for Journalism of InWEnt).  It was my first time to see the site and based from what I found, I quickly added it to my Bookmarks.

Read on, be informed, and spread the word.

Pinoys join in on Facebook campaign against child violence

December 2nd, 2010 · by Joseph Ubalde

If you open your Facebook account and start seeing thumbnail photos of Disney or anime characters on your friends’ profiles instead of their actual pictures, don’t fret; it’s the latest Internet meme that has made its way all over the popular social networking site to heighten awareness on violence against children.

Facebook users in the Philippines began changing their profile pictures Thursday, after a status message began circulating regarding the awareness campaign. According to the status message, Facebook users should have their cartoon profile pictures until December 6.

“By Monday you can’t see a single human face on Facebook but an invasion of childhood memories for the fight against child abuse,” read the status message.

It is unclear when the campaign actually began and who initiated it. But according to a post on the website, the campaign began as early as November 22 and ended a week later. “It is clear that the situation violence against children and child labor will not be reversed by putting cartoon pictures on Facebook, is a way of promoting social awareness to take further actions to change the situation,” read the post.

It is also unclear whether the time period for the said awareness campaign has any significance on the plight of abused children. The United Nations does not mark December 6 or November 22 as a day of observance on violence against children. The closest dates the UN commemorates a day related to children or human rights in general are on November 20 (Universal Children’s Day) and December 10 (Human Rights Day). (See:

Read the whole article —> Pinoys join in…


22 thoughts on “It Pays to Check the Label

  1. For me if you gonna post cartoon profile picture it must be a character that teaches good values. And a cartoon that tells the true value of kids in the community. In that way we can say that you know the true meaning of the advocacy. 🙂 Anywei tamang tama naman ang profile picture ko kissing my 2 yr. old pamangkin. I don’t have to change mine! 🙂

  2. i think it would make a difference, even just a bit. putting up my cartoon profile pic reminded me that i was once a child, and nobody could take away that precious memory. i hope those who abuse children also felt the same way when they saw the profile pics in fb. that they were also children once and nobody even them have the right to take away the rights of a child to be happy. 🙂

  3. Official campaign or not, helpful or not, bottomline is, it has raised awareness. Beyond the usual boring campaigns, it was actually a fun thing to do. Awareness is always the first step–and in the seemingly growing problem of abuse and violence, it is good that people are made aware that the problem does exist, in a very large scale. There is not much (I did not say nothing) an ordinary person can do to combat the problem of child abuse, exploitation and prostitution, so I really do not know what level of commitment is being asked for here.

    Those who scoff at the idea and say, “how would a cartoon character help the cause?!”, need to get off their high horses. It is not meant to resolve anything. People put on red ribbons during World AIDS Day, but ribbons aren’t condoms. It wont stop the problem. But it makes people want to find out more. The cartoon character pics have created enough buzz for people to be made aware. If it did not, well….at least it was fun 🙂

    1. Hi, Jem. Thanks for the comment. I am not sure if I created the impression that I (through my post) scoff at the idea or maybe you were referring to some other people. What I am sure of is that my effort was meant to find out how it began and what other things need to be done for us to achieve what it purportedly advocate.

      Decorating a red ribbon on your chest on World AIDS Day is not just meant to stop the problem. It’s a sign of solidarity with those who suffer from it, a remembrance of those who perished, a statement for policy-makers and leaders, a reminder for everyone to be careful, etc. It hopes to raise the level of awareness and then some. I am not sure if the Facebook thing has that same point and focus. That is why I researched. And together with my short write up is a hope for us to be more discerning. 😀

  4. the point is, it is not the date, it is not the day that this campaign must happen, and we all know na kahit di tayo magimbestiga, the date have no base whatsoever to do this things, for me personally it is a trend na to support the good purpose of it, I myself is not a researcher but it only shows na we pinoys can be as one when it times of disputing or eliminating such violence most specially for childrens…following it is no big deal, being part of it is just a way that your dealing things with good cause, even though it is not timely or even wala sa kalendaryo natin, parang rally lang yan, walang pinipiling pgkakataon, may maisipan sabihin sasabhin…be one of us, show us your support, be a filipino

    1. Hi, Ryan. Thanks for weighing in on the issue. I understand your sentiment and I appreciate the creativity that went into this whole Facebook thingy. As I said in my previous comments, I am making a case for informed actions and decisions. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it’s creative. Yes, it does raise awareness. But what happens after December 6? Will most of us finally lobby in the Congress for tougher rules against people who inflict harm on children? Will we donate a part of our income to Bantay Bata 163 and other advocacies? What happened to Ako Mismo!? What happened to our other initiatives for the society? Questions like these need time to be reflected upon. And it will take extra effort and resources for us to FINALLY TAKE CONCRETE ACTIONS.

      Yes, we can dabble on the cute and creative. I am one with you on this one. But don’t you think we need to take this more seriously? 😀

  5. Beyond the profile pics, let us do something about the children right at our own homes. We need not look at child prostitution outside our homes (but mind you, we need to really do something about it). We just have to look at our own backyards and how we give our own children good examples and meaningful childhood – look at your own kids, your nieces and nephews, and our neighbors’ children.

  6. “I chose not to because something inside me wants to know why and how such an act could make a difference. ”

    — It may not make any difference, but we’ll never know that. No harm in participating though. 😀

    The breast Cancer thing may technically be “pauso lang” which rode on the natural pinoy drive na “maki-uso”…pero i know a few friends who went to a check-up after that event.

    I do appreciate your point to have some basis first before we act…

    1. Hi, jm. I agree. Really no harm in doing those things. Parang rin yang mga pamahiin natin–sumusunod tayo kahit minsan medyo absurd. Hanggang ngayon nga nagpapatawas pa rin ako kapag pakiramdam ko nausog ako. Hehe… Pero syempre we go beyond these things. At 2nd nature na rin kasi sa akin nag mag-investigate because I am a researcher and I manage information.

  7. Well for me it is fun and cool. Seeing old cartoon characters bring back good childhood memories. It also just shows that in a way you care and support even if it will or will not make any difference.

  8. The last 2 days, I’ve seen this done by pinoys on my friends list on facebook. Typically a Pinoy attitude, join the bandwagon without making any commitment to actually do something about it. We all know about the child prostitution going on in the Philippines. Has anyone really done anything about it? How long has it been going on? Years and years, and it is still ongoing with no signs of changing. It’s shameful.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alfred. I agree with you for the most part, especially on the case of prostituted children. If I may share some more, I did some case writing and documentation of 150 child prostitutes some years ago. The project was funded by ILO but it only ran for a few months. It was quite an experience but I really felt like we’ve barely scratched the surface. The problem stems from the system which it also feeds in return.

      Time to make a change. Being informed and making informed decisions may be good starting points.

      1. Like you said, the problem lies in the system. And most of these issues have been so entrenched in the Philippine society it has become the “norm” or at the least taken as something acceptable. I just saw an article about child prostitution in Boracay. Obviously, nothing is being done about it.

        Anyway, I apologize for the rant on your blog. I just wanted to share my point of view with regards to the facebook profile change and happen to come across your blog.


  9. I have nothing against changing your profile pics and stuff. I was just making a case for informed decision-making. Medyo pooper nga lang talaga. hehe

    1. i know i know you have to understand the meaning blah blah blah.. you overthink everything! minsan may mga bagay na easy lang tayo teh haha!

      1. Baka ang gusto lang naman ni Butch ay social awareness walang masama dun at di kumplikado. At least my background. 🙂 Aminin nag-isip ka din! Ehehehe 🙂

  10. hay naku cut us some slack butch hehe.. it’s just a picture, at least I got a chance to replace mine since forever hehe 😉

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