Emoticons turn terrifying for child safety campaign

The usually endearing emoticon gets super creepy for an eye-catching French campaign aimed at making parents aware of who their kids may be talking to online.


Emoticons can be so darn cute, what with their big cartoon eyes, red-hearted smooches, and playfully sheepish tongues.

But move the position of that tongue from side to center and add a little spit and chin stubble to that kissing mouth and things can get creepy fast. And that's exactly the point of a new French ad campaign aimed at protecting kids from Internet predators.

The provocative national campaign, launched by Innocence en Danger, a nonprofit dedicated to child safety, and ad agency Rosapark, features images that take familiar emoticons into oogie territory with real human faces. "Do you really know who's talking to your child on the Internet?" the copy reads. Hopefully not anyone even remotely resembling the guys in these posters.

The emoticon-gone-bad images currently appear in magazines and newspapers, and in Paris bus shelters, surely terrifying adults and children alike. I, for one, will never look at an online winky face the same again.


(Via Gizmodo)

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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