Freudian Slips: Child's Play

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

April 09, 2006

Child's Play

As a social worker, I worry about the safety of children. The Stopitnow organization is trying to get the word out about sexual predators with an advertising campaign on roadside billboards. Sexual predators target a vulnerable population. They exploit innocence. They almost irreparably tarnish new silverwared souls. While I wholeheartedly embrace the Stopitnow cause, I must criticize their choice of advertising.
Pictured is one in a series of billboards sponsored by the Stopitnow organization. This advertisement denounces children’s play. Isn’t the issue overstated and a mixed message at best? For every child forewarned and educated about sexual abuse another child may become fear mongered and foreclose on playtime. These billboards are warning signs in the most troubling sense of the word. The messaging littering these billboards makes not for an even playing field.
I wonder if just as much harm as good is being accomplished. Why not have a split billboard reinforcing that child’s play is good and the other half of the billboard hinting at the rare danger? Examine the headline of this particular billboard. Hide and Seek is about fear and child abuse. I never earned a college degree in marketing but wouldn’t this be less pointed: Hide and Seek…Parents Should Stay on the Lookout. In a small font run a parenthesized tag line effecting that (Abusers often use child’s play for exploitation.)
If there is an anti-defamation league for children in existence, I would like to refer this case. For every grandparent innocently playing pretend games with their grandchild, for every babysitter that is deriving imaginative play from boredom, for every Big Brother that has taken time out of their lives to make a difference in someone else’s life, your efforts are neither represented or appreciated in this advertising campaign. For every literate child who sees one of these disturbing billboards, children’s play is not always to be feared.
Advertising that child's play is all together bad is not all together such a good idea either. Somebody should Stopitnow before it is too late.



Blogger PaxRomano said...

I honestly believe we live in a culture of fear. We are bombarded daily with all kinds of horrific messages about everything from terrorism to our drinking water.

That's not to say that people should not be wary, but the hysteria that is trumpeted in order to protect and enlighten the rank and file does, in my humble opinion, a great disservice.

I've said it before, I'll say it again; we've become a nation of Gladys Kravitz's standing at the window and screaming for Abner whenever we see (or think we see something) out of the ordinary.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Do you think they meant it literally or figuratively? I took it that they meant that child abuse is often hidden, and that predators seek out children. I didn't think it meant that the actual games were dangerous, but I haven't seen the rest of the campaign.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Oh my gosh! Glady's is a stupendous analogy.

Check out the billboards. Get back to me on what you think. My point of contention is not in the adult interpretation but a child's reworked thinking regarding play.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Haven't seen the bulletin boards, but I get your point. Kids won't get the deeper message, they'll take it at surface value.

I remember being allowed to be innocent when I was a child. It's a luxury most kids today don't have. I think this fact changes our world dramatically.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

The world seems safer just keeping my eyes on the road.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Maidink said...

I didn't even understand the billboard. I see a scared child and then the words Hide and Seek and then abuse. I must admit I was a bit confused about what message it was trying to convey.

I like your "Hide and Seek - Parents Should Be On the Lookout" much better. Direct - to the point. The advert agency Stopitnow used really didn't do well. I hope they can get a refund.

4:44 PM  

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