These emoticons illustrated as creepy people are enough to unnerve anyone—and that's their point. They're at the heart of a new ad campaign meant to raise awareness for parents about their children's seemingly innocuous online activities.
Innocence en Danger is a French child advocacy group that recently launched a campaign titled "Who's Really Chatting Online With Your Child?"
Blending the cutesy imagery of smiley faces with the realities of who might be hiding behind them, the images are an unsettling reminder of the dangers of online child predators.
Stateside, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that one in 25 children has received an online sexual solicitation in which the solicitor attempted to make offline contact. In a national survey of children who had suffered Internet-initiated abuse, 76 percent reported that they had initially met their abusers in an online chat room.
Those statistics are sobering, but there are many resources available to parents that can help them safeguard their kids from online predation, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Parent Guide to Internet Safety.
It's not possible or necessary to keep kids off the web entirely, but campaigns like Innocence en Danger's can promote awareness, communication, and most important, education for parents that will help them keep their kids safe.