What would happen if adults who witness child abuse stepped in and stopped that abuse? An interactive billboard in South Korea is hoping to answer that question by letting passersby see for themselves.
The billboard is a street-level large white screen with the silhouettes of a grown man threatening a child with a bottle. There's a gap between the two images, big enough for a person walking by to see his or her own silhouette in between. Text on top of the ad says: "Child abuse: You can prevent it."
A superhero logo appears on the shadows of those passersby who decide to step into the scene. An emergency phone number also appears, as does the message: "Report to become a hero for children."
The minds behind the billboard hope it will act as a nudge to adults reluctant to report abuse in or near their homes.
South Korea passed legislation back in September in an effort to combat the growing problem of child abuse in the country. "The number of confirmed child abuse cases in South Korea rose to 6,700 in 2013 from 2,100 in 2001. Reported child abuse cases so far this year are up 36% from a year ago to 10,240, data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare shows," the Wall Street Journal reported this fall.
The legislation stemmed from two closely watched cases the year before. In one, a mother beat her 7-year-old stepdaughter to death for asking to go on a school picnic. In the other, another 7-year-old died after suffering from years of her stepmother's physical abuse. The two women were sentenced to 15 and 10 years respectively on charges of accidental homicide.