Child Welfare

Norway’s 12-Year-Old Bride Has a Secret: She’s Not Actually Real

This Saturday was supposed to be a big day for 12-year-old Thea, as she finally walked down the aisle to marry her 37-year-old fiance. However, the festivities may be hampered by the fact that neither one of them actually exists. Thea's disturbing union with a man 25 years her senior in Norway was a digital invention of Plan International, an advocacy group dedicated to lifting children out of poverty. Thea's wedding blog, packed with photos of her matrimonial preparations and confessions about feeling pressured into the union, reportedly sparked concerned calls to child welfare authorities and thousands of horrified conversations in social media. The group says the stunt was created to highlight that more than 39,000 children in developing countries are forced into marriages every day. Plan International tells the Independent: "We believe that provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking. We hope people will mobilize against child marriage by being girl sponsors, so that most of the girls facing Thea's situation every day can escape their brutal fate." Via BuzzFeed.

Child-Abuse Ad Uses Lenticular Printing to Send Kids a Secret Message That Adults Can’t See

The ANAR Foundation, a Spanish child-advocacy organization, used lenticular printing in this powerful outdoor ad to send different messages to children and adults.

Ads for Missing Children Placed on ‘404 Not Found’ Web Pages

The Europeans have found a good use for those otherwise useless "404 Not Found" error pages on websites—they've become a home to ads for missing children. "Across the European Union, thousands of children go missing every year," says the homepage of the initiative, which is a collaboration between Missing Childr

Horrifying PSA Asks: Are You a Monster When You’re Drunk?

Well, here's a lovely bit of emotional carnage for your Friday—a creepy-as-hell PSA from Finnish agency Euro RSCG Helsinki for a charity called Fragile Childhood that shows kids wandering around a bleak, forbidding landscape and being preyed upon by monsters. But it turns out these are their parents.

The Spot: Pain Beyond Words

IDEA: Britain's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had a pressing issue: People were waiting months, even years, to report suspected child abuse. This is partly because kids are notoriously unreliable narrators—indeed, they say the darnedest things. It can be difficult telling what's real and what's not.

Ireland Bans Powerful Child-Abuse PSA for Baffling, Idiotic Reason

Ireland's advertising watchdog has made itself a laughingstock—except nobody's laughing—by banning an anti-child-abuse PSA that was powerful enough to get noticed worldwide.

Fairy Tale Veers Off Course in JWT’s Child Trafficking PSA

Here's another one for the freaky files—JWT New York's new PSA for ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking). The tagline is, "Dragons aren't the only monsters." In a statement, JWT ecd Andrew Clarke says: "Child trafficking is on our own doorstep and it shocks people to think that it is.

Milly Dowler’s Legacy: Child-Safety PSAs in the U.K.

Some people are hearing the name Milly Dowler for the first time today. She's the British schoolgirl who was murdered in 2002 at the age of 13, and whose phone was allegedly hacked by journalists at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World and its private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Foster-Care Billboards See Lives Turned Upside Down

Drivers in Wisconsin might wonder about the sobriety of the local billboard workers this month, as four dozen outdoor ads across the state now show an upside-down image of an adult and child, with no copy.

Italian child-abuse PSAs truly heartbreaking

McCann Milan is behind these eerie new ads for Casa do Menor in Italy. The print ad (see the full version here) shows a girl covered in hands—a favored image […]