I'm picturing walking past this billboard with my kid and having him ask "Daddy, why does that kid look all beat up" and answering "no, that kid looks perfectly normal, you're making it up". Nice.
There are far better ways to have a very high-quality 2-way covert channel to any kid old enough to read an ad and act on the information here, namely: school. Many teachers are extremely pro-active about figuring out signs of abuse. My mother was a teacher and intervened decisively and successfully in a serious ongoing physical abuse situation once.
Plus, the idea that you might care about kids at school and find out what's up with them is a good precedent that can lead to a lot of other nice related things even when there isn't abuse. On the other hand, lenticular ads that show different things to adults and kids is not a good precedent, whether it's used to show grosser ads to grownups than we currently have to see already ("hey, the kids can't see this") or to covertly market to kids.
Doubly so when kids tend to think that schools work hand in hand with parents. Your expectation is that anything you tell the school, goes home. Even if they say it won't. Adults lie. Abused kids don't have a lot of trust. Anonymity makes a big difference.
Also there are worse things in the world than having to have that discussion with your kid. Like not wanting to stay home when you're sick because you're afraid that you'll wind up with a sore ass from your mother's boyfriend.
What? You think that is an unfair thing for me to say? Well I've got worse for you. I don't have to imagine that - I just have to remember.
If a billboard like this helps one kid like I was, and disturbs a hundred like yours, that's a worthwhile tradeoff in my books. Before leaping to disagree, stop and think about the fact that the typical estimate is that equivalent experiences are the reality of childhood for 20% of women and 5% of men. That's a lot of kids. It is wonderful that your kids get better. But far too many don't.
And no, schools are not an effective answer to this problem. Ideas like this one might not be either, but it is worth trying them so that we can see how well they work. Because until you try them, you can't find out if they might.
Question for you though, since I've been trying to figure this out since I pulled up this post: What exactly is the point of "hiding" this from adults, besides cute gimmick? It's not like an abuser can somehow prevent a child from seeing a billboard that they themselves also see. Are we afraid that access to the phone number can be restricted? Well, this article does that all on its own.
What's the point? What's the benefit?
On the flip side, I'm VERY concerned at marketers trying to direct a message to my child while deliberately hiding that message from me, the parent. I personally don't care what that message is. It could be for abused kids or it could be to tell them that their parents should be turned into the authorities for not agreeing with the government. The message is irrelevant.
As a responsible parent in charge of creating the best 18 year old man I can out of my 6 and 4 year old boys, I NEED to be aware of as much as possible that their little brains are taking in. Not to censor them (although in some cases this is appropriate), but to temper that intake with a does of 38 years of wisdom that they simply do not possess at the moment.
I have no issues discussing child abuse with my sons. In fact I would love to do so in an effort to ensure that they come to me (or another adult) if one of their classmates or friends is in this situation. Hell, I want them to come to me if they feel in this situation too.
This billboard does not promote any of this. It separates me from my child in a very underhanded way.
If he'd recognized a billboard like that, he could have taken it as an opportunity to warn me. I would have believed that warning from someone I viewed as incredibly powerful. Which would make the billboard entirely useless.
But if he didn't see the ad, he couldn't deliver that threat. If by chance I became aware that he couldn't even see the ad, it would have undermined my impression of how powerful he was.
Would it have worked? I don't know. Quite possibly not. Maybe it would for some but not others. The only way to really find out is to try it.
Furthermore they should keep track at the other end of how many kids calling saw that billboard. If those statistics say it is effective, then roll it out to a bunch of places for as long as it keeps on working. (Over time abusers will become aware of the trick and be on the lookout for it.)
As for the marketing issue, I hear you and do not disagree. The technology could be used in very bad ways. I just happen to think that this is a good use of it, and is something that is worth trying.
I hear what you are saying and sympathize with where you are coming from. However one must always be mindful of the unintended consequences of our good intentions. In this case, I see a huge potential for abuse with little positive payoff. I can't logically conclude otherwise without simply making a play to emotion.
The downvote clearly shows that someone here is lacking maturity. Downvoting because you don't like what was said is mindless censorship.
Also, I like your point about emotional investment. I am way too emotionally invested when it comes to drink driving. I lost both parents to a drunk driver and I would happily see hanged any drink driver. This is an emotional response rather than a logical one and this is why people with too much emotional investment shouldn't make the rules. Their input is definitely needed though.
My guess as to the reason for the downvote is that once he veered into making personal comments on my state of mind, he was engaged in ad hominem. No matter how good or bad his points, that behavior is discouraged.
On whether I am too emotionally invested, if my points had been imbued with excessive emotion, that would have been one thing. But they were not. My big point was, "This potentially addresses a real problem in trying to reach abused children, and we should collect data on whether it actually works." I believe that to be a fairly neutral point.
Once we have data, we can revisit this with information of the form, "We had 5 complaints and 2 children called our hotline because of a sign that was seen fairly regularly by an estimated 1000 children." At that point we can try to find a balance between people who had a mildly unpleasant conversation with their children, and children who no longer have absolutely horrible things happening to them.
But until we have that data, we can't productively have those conversations. Clearly abuse is orders of magnitude worse than being confronted with an unpleasant and possibly confusing sign. Clearly more normal children are going to be confronting that sign than are going to see abuse stopped. How do these opposing interest balance? Nobody can tell because we don't know what portion of people who see the sign are disturbed by it, and we don't know how many abused children will actually respond to it.
So we should run the experiment and collect data.
You have a theory about my behavior that might or might not be correct. You have extrapolated that to a theory about all abused children that is even less likely to be correct than the first. You have concluded from that that you see no point in actually trying the experiment and collecting data because it is guaranteed to fail.
Your initial theory about me is incorrect. After years of abuse I got to that point, sure. But I didn't start there. I believe from my own memories of myself that there was a period where I would be willing to try it, and a period where I wouldn't.
Your generalization of my experience (which you weren't there for and know almost nothing about) is even less correct than your initial theory. I was but one child with one set of experiences. Different children react differently. Different children go through different patterns of abuse. My description is anecdote, not data.
And finally your absolute certainty that it is useless to even try is nothing short of absolutely galling. On what evidence do you give up before trying? I've got a heck of a lot more experience/knowledge than you do, and I certainly don't think it is hopeless to try this! (I don't necessarily think it will work, but it seems like a promising idea.)
As for the message itself, well, I am not in a position to judge. Ideally it was crafted with input from people who had suffered the exact kind of abuse they are targeting about what would have been most likely to work for them. I know that the most effective messages are often not what someone without experience would guess them to be. They've got more knowledge about physical abuse than I do.
My experience was sexual abuse, which is different in many ways. But if it shows any signs of effectiveness for one then it can be repeated with messages aimed at other kinds of victims.
For sexual abuse I might suggest a message along the lines of, He says you asked for it, and it sometimes feels good. But it is wrong and you don't want it. We understand. We can make it stop.
Why that message? Because the best way to show you actually understand is to state the deepest, darkest truth of sexual abuse. Which is that abusers try to convince themselves and their victims that this is an act of love, and children are not equipped with the emotional maturity to distinguish "this feels good" from "I want this".
(That message might be a bit too raw. I've known a lot of adults who were unable to look back at their own abuse and face that statement. And explaining it to your kids would be extremely hard. But it is a statistical certainty that they will have kids in their classrooms who are actually GOING through that, but nobody knows it...)
I think you are too emotionally invested in this topic to see my point and thus have a rational discussion about it.
I appreciate your experiences and never intended to insult you. However I wasn't really talking about you, you are.
You were sufficiently unaware of the ways in which abusers try to control victims that you failed to understand the purpose of the sign.
When the way in which the design of the sign is meant to bypass the dynamics of abuse was described to you, you leaped to the conclusion that abusers are going to succeed in controlling victims, so there is no point to even trying something like this sign.
When I pointed out that the fact that abusers try to control victims does not mean that they necessarily succeed, and it is worth trying the sign out to see if it successfully reaches some victims, you concluded that I'm too emotionally invested to have a rational conversation.
Returning your bluntness in kind, on this topic, you are sufficiently uninformed that you can't have an opinion worth respecting. Your only choices are A) inform yourself, B) shut up, or C) be an asshole.
I'm sorry that you've chosen option C, and see no point in continuing this conversation.
I'm perfectly aware, I just don't agree that it is a valid measure, and in addition I feel this particular method is open to abuse that has little if anything to do with this particular message.
you concluded that I'm too emotionally invested to have a rational conversation.
Because you are, in as much as you:
1. Fail to see my main point, or feel that the negative consequences are unimportant because of the possibility of positive outcomes.
2. Have downvoted my comments.
3. Have called me an asshole.
I'm pretty clear on where you stand, and see nothing to change my original assessment. Feel free to downvote this comment as well, as I'm not particularly connected to happy points on the internet.
Wisdom is not measured by the years. I've met wise people who are old, and I've met wise people who are the age of your boys. I've met the foolish both young and old. Rather than tempering the intake of 38-years of wisdom, perhaps instead, consider sharing some of that 38-years-of-wisdom so that your children grow strong enough to make choices of their own.
But hey. Ultimately, you're the parent. Good luck.
Nonetheless, I'm under no false pretenses that I'm able to control what my child is taking in outright. I can in fact provide input to how they choose to make decisions.
The only people I've ever met that don't think that experience and age provides a value to decision making are the young and inexperienced.
I'm not talking about making decisions. Though if we want to talk about that, then there is a whole study of strategic thinking, that is, the making of decisions in face of uncertainty. Experience helps there, but not to make more informed decisions (in high uncertainty, you can not use past knowledge as primary driver for making decisions). Rather, where past experience helps is in staying calm while you are deciding your actions in face of uncertainty.
Having had a lot of experiences gives an older person far more opportunities to practice this, but this is not a guarantee. Naiveté sometimes (not always) protect someone by letting them stay sane while bad shit happens.
There are also shadow sides: where the parent's own aversions and fear of loss gets enters the picture, commingling with love and affection.
I'm not digressing. I'm getting to the heart of the issue: what's at stake isn't simply what's best (or so you think, what's best) for the child, but also your own needs projected into the role as the parent. Being very, very clear about yourself helps. A lot.
This doesn't seem like a very convincing argument ;-). Of course people will value whatever it is they have and someone else doesn't.
... and probably not a parent.
I submit that experience being a child is just as valid in a discussion of parenting as experience being a parent, and is underappreciated.
And likewise people discount the value of whatever it is they don't have that someone else does. Please don't let that fact keep you from realizing that experience has real value, and this is an advantage that older people consistently have over younger ones.
Obviously it isn't the only important factor. Plenty of 15 year olds have better judgement than most 40 year olds. But very few people have better judgement at 15 than they do at 40. (However many have worse judgement at 80 than at 60. Such is life.)
Don't let the frequency of stupidity among adults cause you to discount the fact that experience has value.
I submit that experience being a child is just as valid in a discussion of parenting as experience being a parent, and is underappreciated.
Having been both a parent and a child, I absolutely know that you're wrong. Before I was a parent, this wouldn't have been obvious to me.
The experience of having been a child is indeed relevant to a discussion of parenting. All competent parents draw on this experience to help inform their decisions. However until you've been on both sides of that relationship you simply don't have a full perspective to judge by.
It is like deciding on who is right in an argument between two friends after having only heard one side. The information that you got is clearly relevant and important, but you simply aren't (yet) in a position to make a fair judgement.
I know that you don't agree. But if you choose to be a parent, after you've had the experience of being shocked by hearing yourself sound like an echo of your own parents, come back and tell me that you didn't just learn something very important about your parents. (Before you wonder, every parent that I've asked about it has had this experience. And every one has at that point understood their parents better.)
Experience alone doesn't cut it though. There are plenty of things people don't actually want to experience, but it happens anyways. That's why you can describe this with the "stages of grief".
The wisdom I am talking about is not about making better or worse judgement. It's the ability to stay sane while experiences come and go -- when new things arises, and when you enter those stages of grief. Someone with a lot of experience (which _does_ come with age) would presumably have more practice at this, but that is no guarantee.
"after you've had the experience of being shocked by hearing yourself sound like an echo of your own parents, "
Oh yeah, that's a fun one :-D
There's a mythic image I once heard describe by Joseph Campbell. Imagine a family sitting around the dinner table. This is Victorian times, and the family is dressed up for it. The father and mother have formal dining clothes, spine straight, all very proper and like.
The father asks the mother, "is he done yet?" The mother lifts up the cover to the formal service. And there, underneath, is their son roasted the the plate, garnished, sauced up, ready to go. She says, "yes, he smells done." So the father chops up the cooked corpse of his son and eats him. With good manners, of course.
I didn't understand Campbell's commentary until later. The horror of this image is the same horror as realizing that ... you've become the role of the Father. That is, this role has "eaten" you.
If we're talking about having "better" or "worse" judgement, then sure, your experiences matter. I'm talking about staying sane while _experiencing_ things. What is experienced is secondary to the experiencing. In this, very few people are skilled at this.
And lets not forget about shame. Even adults have problem talking about abuse to someone they know because of stigma, for kids this is even worse. There is stigma with added fear of physical punishment far worse what has happened so far.. Anonymity indeed makes BIG difference: most likely it is difference between getting help at all or not.
I find it ridiculous that some consider this kind of picture "disturbing to their children" when they don't probably even blink when passing even more brutal/disturbing movie ad or when they let their kids watch those movies.
The rest of your post is totally valid, but I think the above is a big take-away for those of us who don't abuse our kids. Parenting is in large part discussion, and some of the more important discussions are about uncomfortable things.
Wow. I hadn't thought of that at all. That is absolutely terrible. Maybe there should be a disclaimer on the ad for the kid about how parents and kids see 2 different things on the billboard?
And yeah, good teachers will take note of that and take care of it; though it can make for some really rough beginnings:
"Hey, Jacob, why are you wearing make-up?" the teacher inquires, noticing that there's a really bad makeup job on one of her male student's faces, around their eye.
"Eh, it's nothing, I just thought it'd be fun, to!" the kid nervously responds regarding.
Is telling a kid they're making something up without investigating the best way to instill confidence?
Wow, good observation. I hope those companies that market toys and other crap for children don't start adopting this.
'Many' is quite the weasel-word to use in this context.
Your argument is an instance of "we should do something; this is something; therefor we should do it."
What's sad about that?
Costs include things like "children in formative years being told that a beat up child looks perfectly normal". (And, as hawkw mentioned, "opportunity cost of not being able to implement other strategies".)
It just so happens that, in this case, you're actually affected by the argument being presented. Child abuse is an absolutely terrible thing, and we should work to stop it, and work to get those children that are being abused a way to be protected, and so on; but the question that others here are asking is "is this the right way to do it? Will this attempt do more harm than good?" and that's a good question to ask.
If 5 year olds everywhere are taught that black eyes are not potential signs for abuse, then Billy down the street might get missed, because mom didn't see the what the child said, when the kid, seeing the billboard, asked why "why is that kid hurt?"
I'm picturing that in such a peculiar case the parent would bend to level their head with the child's.
An abused child would never, ever ask that question. Ever.
There are much worse things your kid probably sees daily just by turning on the TV.
Im pretty sure its explained in the ad:
"If someone hurts you, phone us"
I agree it could cause some confusion but how many kids are going to ask their parents after reading the ad? We obviously can't know for sure but I feel like the ad conveys enough information to the point that "this kid was hurt by someone, if this is happening to you call us, we can help"
You said school. Can you name a few more?
You are not reaching the childrens living in the country, nor the childrens locked at home, or at the boarding schools, neither the babies/very small childrens that can not read still, nor the alienated that don't even notice that they are abused or that think that they "merit to be slapped" because they are... "too bad, too silly, too stupid"... people are very good lying to ourselves
And even if you reach a desired target they probably don't call you, a perfect stranger.
An abused child is frequently intensively surveilled, most of the time they are keep in a controlled environment, at home or in a small group of related people. Rarely could access freely to a public telephone and I bet that this boy or girl will avoid carefully (fear, shame...) to look directly to the advertissement shown for a few weeks in a random street of a big city.
> You said school. Can you name a few more?
School is basic, as health services, you can also add libraries, and TV.
In Spain an abused child goes to an hospital sooner or later, and some injuries are very dificult to hide or fake to a professional. A physician can take a discrete look under the shirt of a child and he/she knows what to search for. Later they can send a silent alert to the appropriate channels if this is suspicious or simply call the police if there is some gross evidence.
If you want to tell a telephone number to the children, simply assure that this number is a the school, in a poster at the hall. Pretty simple, safe and cheap also.
If you want to be really twisted, put this number in some selected books in the school's library with an inked rubber stamp.
Ask the teachers to spoke about it in a delicate and sensitive way. They can provide a better, more focused and controlled message in a safe environment. A poster in a solitary street with this aggressor can' have the same benefits and could even put him/her at risk. The adult could even beat him, menace or manipulate him distorting the message in unpredictable ways
If you want to reach a target not in education you could use the TV channels for childrens. When we are trying to sell a toy, a film or a burguer to a child there is not a safe place where the parents can hide. You can also introduce this theme in programs like sesame street, in a subtile way and with an apropriately, positive and carefully expressed message.