Social media is a great vehicle to advance social awareness on issues that deserve scrutiny. Through December 6, many of us on Facebook are replacing our avatars, those thumbnails that appear next to our updates, with favorite cartoon characters from our childhood. In Hawaii that era is called ‘small kid time.’ Kinda cute, huh?
The cause is to end child abuse. I’ve seen other causes to change my avatar, but for me, this one is beyond honorable. I can give up being the hot chick in a canoe if it gets people thinking about being a child, about how it’s important to keep children safe, and how we should never lose touch with the child within.
Today my avatar is Alice the Goon because Popeye the Sailor was the top cartoon in our house. Poor Alice. Did she ever have a chance at love? Sally Starr, Gene London and Happy the Clown, Philadelphia television station morning kid-show hosts, always had Popeye, Looney Tunes, and the Three Stooges on. Mom would sit us down in front of the black and white TV to keep us out of her hair. On Friday evenings we’d watch The Flintstones, Batman was on two nights, and we never missed Disney’s Wonderful World of Color on Sunday nights. As I got older, my tastes grew more sophisticated and I graduated to cartoons such as The Beatles and The Archies because I could sing the bubble-gum tunes as the bouncing ball danced along the bottom of the screen. Karaoke has been around for a long time, heh.
Since I have friends on Facebook younger than me, some of whom I could have babysat, their avatars are not as easy to recognize, such as Strawberry Shortcake and all of the super heroes with capes. Then there are those who are using avatars from public television shows, those that I’d only let my girls watch just a few years ago, such as Sesame Street, Arthur, Blue’s Clues, Dragontales and Dora the Explorer. I confess I let Nickelodeon suck my kids into its vortex for just a short spell, so we have traces of The Wiggles, Spongebob and Invader Zim, too.
What do cartoons do for us? For me, they are the security blanket of my childhood. When I watched cartoons in my yellow Dr. Dentons, nothing went wrong. Life was simple. I remember the first time I put Sophie down in front of the TV. It was to watch “Elmo Saves Christmas.” She was just a year old and riveted. I felt guilty, but I felt like her mind was safe. Since then, we’ve hit on some fabulous kid shows and one of my all-time favorites forever and ever will be “Blues Big Musical.” I just love it! If you haven’t ever seen it, YOU MUST. Especially if you’re about to be a grand. Get it in your arsenal for that special babysitting session. You will love it together!
How sweet to have these memories again. How sad that child abuse persists, and probably has for as long as there have been humans. If you can stop it, please do. Every child born is entitled to the best life possible. They are our gift to the future. I say that a lot.