Being Concerned About Children’s Pictures Becoming Memes

Picture it. You are scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed one morning, while you sip your first cup of coffee, and suddenly… there’s a face you recognise.
Its an image that has been shared by a Facebook “friend” you have only a vague memory of meeting or ever speaking to, who found it on their friend’s feed – someone you don’t know at all.
Its been liked, and commented on, and shared numerous times already by this friend’s friend’s friends – never mind the attention it got when it was posted on The Divine Side Of Parenting, or the Dads Who Babysit Badly Facebook page*.

Its your child’s face!

It’s YOUR child!

Its the picture you took before cleaning up the mess he had made, ‘coz it was so typical and funny and you knew your family would get a laugh.
Its the picture you took because your little princess looked so cute all pink and smiling on her tiptoes after her bubble bath and you knew her granny would love it.
Its the picture you took ‘coz they were smiling in an especially cute way, like they had just been mischievous and your timing was perfect.

And now it has a caption on it. In bold white text.

There are quite a few very well known memes on the internet that are made using pictures of children. They have many different captions ‘coz there are some very clever and funny people in this world. Some of those captions are mean and crass and offensive.
And they are on the internet forever.
You’ll know them if you see them (I have deliberately blurred the images so they won’t be shared yet again). Do you think their parents shared them as memes, or in the hopes they would become memes? What about when these children are Googled by prospective employers one day? The internet doesn’t go away. It can’t be deleted.

You’ve seem them before, haven’t you? You may even have commented on them, liked them, and shared them and thought nothing of it.

Think before you post pictures of your children online. It doesn’t matter if your Twitter feed is private, or what your privacy settings on Facebook are – they are changed all the time, nothing is safe.

And remember that pictures of naked and semi-naked children are considered child pornography when posted online in South Africa. Yes – even babies, and yes – even when posted by the child’s parents.

And I don’t give a crap how justified you think your cause is – you may NEVER post pictures of someone else’s naked children without their permission!
It was an incident exactly like this that got me onto this subject today – a woman photographed a naked child, and shared it publicly on Facebook because she didn’t like the circumstances under which the child was naked – she was all “I won’t rest until I find out what was going on…” and “I won’t rest until I find this child’s parents…“.
This is not how you take action, FCOL. How dare you.

*not actual Facebook pages

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Have a #CupcakeForMyHero to Spread Hope

I am supporting this particularly delicious initiative for sure – and I have a long list of heroes to write on my hand!
Get yourself to Brooklyn Mall this weekend to support their campaign!

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Cancer is primarily seen as an adult disease, however more and more children are being diagnosed. If detected early it is highly treatable, but locally it is estimated that less than half of children with cancer are diagnosed, and many of those who are diagnosed are in advanced stages of illness.

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This Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, Mugg & Bean will construct a Wall of Generosity to bring South Africans together in support of those who have been affected by cancer at Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria on 24 and 25 September 2016.
Each visitor will receive a complimentary cupcake from the wall and be asked to write down the name of their ‘cancer hero’ – someone they know who has battled cancer – on their hand, and then pose for a picture holding up the cupcake with the other hand.

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“We want to create something special where everyone can come together to spread hope; hope for those who have been affected, for those who are battling the disease and hope for the future,” said Lee-Ann Cullingworth, Marketing Executive for Mugg & Bean.
“By driving the conversation, we hope to raise awareness of the early warning signs to equip South Africans with the knowledge to identify possible symptoms and act quickly to ultimately save lives.”

The Wall of Generosity forms part of Mugg & Bean’s annual Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer initiative in support of Cupcakes of HOPE that aims to raise awareness and funds for families in need of assistance. #CupcakesForHope 

In addition to bringing together a community of supporters, Mugg & Bean also introduced a lemon meringue cupcake to its menu for the month of September 2016. The sweet treat is offering consumers a simple way to help change and save lives – all proceeds generated from the cupcake sales will be donated to Cupcakes of HOPE.

“We’ve surpassed our 2015 donation of R100,000 within the first week,” says Cullingworth. “We’re humbled by the phenomenal response and honoured to be part of such a worthy cause.”

To support Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer, enjoy your lemon meringue #CupcakeForMyHero at any Mugg & Bean, upload your picture of support using the hashtag to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, spread the generosity by donating to the cause or visit The Wall of Generosity on 24 – 25 September between 09:00 – 17:00 at Brooklyn Mall.

The “My Most Beautiful Pet” Competition!

My Most Beautiful PET Celebrates South Africa’s Furry Friends

Do you think YOU have the most beautiful PET?

Well, I can tell you right now that I – in fact – have the most beautiful pet, and that you shouldn’t even bother entering, but that wouldn’t be a fair win for me!

😛

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The competition website www.mymostbeautiful.com is proud to announce their new competition My Most Beautiful PET which is now open for entries.
Hurry along and start snapping and uploading your pics on www.mymostbeautiful.com to win the grand prize of R50 000!
What’s more, there are cash prizes for the rest of the top 10 ranging from R15 000 – R1000 and also prizes for a few lucky voters!

My Most Beautiful PET celebrates all of South Africa’s furbabies by donating a portion of profits to TEARS who are a pro-life, non-profit organisation based in Cape Town.  They rescue and rehome lost, abandoned and abused animals as well provide free sterilisations and primary medical care to animals in underprivileged communities. Around 300 animals are cared for daily at the shelter from veterinary care to providing food.  The My Most Beautiful team want to help ensure that many of these animals become pets to a loving home.

Joining in the search for this year’s My Most Beautiful PET are two celebrity judges, former Miss SA finalist Vanessa Haywood – Sandes who is an avid animal lover, and animal- activist and singer, Louise Carver, who have come on board to assist with the difficult task of crowning the winning pet “the most beautiful.”

Now that the cat’s out the bag, convinced you are the owner of South Africa’s most beautiful PET? Create a profile on www.mymostbeautiful.com, upload your pet pics and get your friends and family voting via SMS! Entries and voting close on the 9thSeptember and the winners will be announced on the 16th September.

To make a donation directly to TEARS, head over to http://tears.org.za/ for more info.

Ever Wondered What Its Like Raising A Guide Dog Puppy?

It’s a lot like having a toddler in your house.

I would say its like having a baby in the house, but babies aren’t really mobile… 😛

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Once you find out you’re on the list for a puppy, you can hardly wait for the email giving you the date you can go and fetch her (or him 😀 ).
You start racking your brain for possible names and buying toys, a new collar, name tags, bowls, and bedding for when your baby arrives home. Once you fetch your puppy, you get to pick her up and cuddle her, and carry her to the car, and you make the most of it ‘coz it won’t easily happen again – these puppies are not to be carried and coddled.

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For the first week, she sleeps a lot, often collapsing into a nap in the middle of a game! Then there’s the mad dash when your puppy wakes at 1am… and 2am and 4am and 5am… Get her outside for a piddle and back into her bed- in the dark- without too much of a disruption to your sleep or the rest of the household, praying that it won’t be long before she sleeps through.

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Then she’ll start getting more active.
You will spend a lot of time asking your puppy what she – or he – has in her mouth, and then telling her to spit it out (leave it), or to bring it to you.
And if she does manage to get out of your sight, you spend a lot of time checking to see why your puppy has suddenly gone quiet… and then cleaning up whatever her newest mess is.

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You’ll check to make sure your puppy bag is properly packed – lunch, clean up products, treats, water, and toys – and then you kick yourself when you get to your destination and you’ve left something behind. Or you’ve left the whole bag behind!
And since your puppy goes where you go, you try to plan your trips around your puppy’s nap times and meals, hoping you timed it right and she won’t need to pee (busy) until you get home again!
The morning run to get your husband off to work on time is extra challenging as you try to get your puppy fed and out for a pee while packing a lunchbox, and then getting your puppy into the car without freaking her out and putting her off car travel.
And you follow up every invitation with a request for your puppy to accompany you.

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You spend a lot of time worrying about whether your puppy is eating enough, and how her tummy is doing.
If she doesn’t want to eat its a concern. If it looks like she’s too tubby that’s a problem too. Her food is carefully measured and weighed and you keep trying to balance training treats with what she’s eaten!

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You also spend a lot of time wanting to throttle people who touch and talk to your puppy without asking you if they may do so, and asking people to please not pick your puppy up.

And you aren’t just handed a puppy and told: “See you in a year!”
Your puppy’s progress is monitored throughout her time with you. There’s puppy classes, home visits, outings to nursery schools and malls, PR visits to expos and shows, progress reports for the development supervisors and sponsors…
Make no mistake – its a full time project, and not to be taken on lightly.
When these puppies are awake, they are learning, and if they’re not with you, they’re not learning the right way. Their learning is essential as these pups will one day be Guide Dogs to the visually impaired or Service Dogs for the physically disabled. That means they have to be pretty much bomb-proof as well as obedient.

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When your puppy turns one, you send them off to “varsity” by giving them back to SA Guide-dogs for their formal training, and a few months later you will meet their new owner when they graduate and start working in the career you spent so many hours preparing them for.

Then if you’re brave, and lucky, you get to do it all again!