CCFC Blog

What if: Instead of taking, posting, and tagging pictures, we simply observe and be? Instead of broadcasting the eclipse for virtual audiences, we decide sharing with those we’ve chosen to watch with is enough? Instead of centering ourselves in the middle of the eclipse, we choose to experience our own cosmic insignificance in the face of one of the universe’s most spectacular events? Instead of modeling distraction for our kids, we let them model awe and wonder for us? Too often in our social media/smart phone era, we trade presence for documentation. If a once-in-a-lifetime event isn’t enough to make us appreciate the now, what is? 
With back-to-school approaching, it's the perfect time to download the Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy, a free resource from CCFC and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy! Schools maintain digital dossiers with ever-growing amounts of personal information about students—things like test scores, income levels, social security numbers, and even immigration status. But most schools don't have strong policies to keep that information safe or prevent it from being shared with third parties. Our free Toolkit is designed to help parents understand what data schools collect, how it should be protected, and what parents can do to hold schools accountable.  Download the Toolkit today, and use it this semester to take real steps to protect...
On July 7, 2017, CCFC submitted comments in support of California AB375, the Broadband Privacy Act. This bill would replace privacy regulations rolled back by Congress at the national level earlier this year, and protect consumers from having their personal data--including browsing history--sold by their Internet Service Provider without their consent. Below is our comment.  Dear Assemblymember Chau:  Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is a national non-profit, headquartered in Boston, which works to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy families by limiting commercial access to children and ending the exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing. More than 5,400 California residents are members of CCFC and...
My name is Katy Smith, and I am a licensed parent educator in Minnesota. My work is to create communities that support and nurture children in early childhood. Even though thousands of miles separate my classroom and CCFC’s office in Boston, I consider them a true partner in my work and am proud to be a supporter. In 2011, I was honored to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year – the first ever early childhood educator to receive the award. I still pinch myself sometimes that it was real (the photo on the right is me at the White House – I’m the one in the blue blazer and pearls behind President Obama!). One amazing thing about being a Teacher of the Year is that it allowed me a broader platform to talk about how to help...
We’re excited to share with you some great new tools from ChangeLab Solutions to stop marketers from targeting kids in schools. We hope you’ll use them to encourage your school district to adopt policies that give students the protections they deserve! Starting next school year, under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, local education agencies or school districts must have in place a “local school wellness policy” to create a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn. Under the baseline policy, all foods and beverages sold to students must meet USDA nutrition standards, and products that don’t meet those standards can’t be marketed in schools. This is a great start,...
We’re excited to share our new resource to help parents protect their children’s privacy! Today’s schools are more connected than ever: most education records are stored digitally, and students and staff use apps and websites for daily instruction, homework, and administrative tasks. These apps, websites, and digital storage vendors collect a wide variety of data about students, including kids’ names, birth dates, internet browsing histories, grades, test scores, disabilities, disciplinary records, family income information, and more—often without parental consent or clear, adequate security protections.   We’ve heard from multiple parents who want to know: what are schools allowed to do with this...
Is your toddler sleeping with his iPad? Is your grade-schooler always playing with your phone? Is your middle-schooler staying inside to play Minecraft every day? Was your high school son up till 3am last night playing his video games? With no real limits and left to manage technology on their own, most children will overuse it. As our culture saturates our children with media, our job as parents is to skillfully guide them through the deluge of distractions. While we may try to convince ourselves that their media is educational, social, and healthy, deep down parents know instinctively that our children are getting too much screen time. It is never too late to get more facts about the ever-changing world of childhood screens and reset bad...
Times have changed. Life is more serious for today’s children: they have learned about the impact of humans on the earth, food allergies, and the need for sunscreen and antibacterial soap. Supervised far more closely than in years past, they have play dates rather than spontaneous pick-up games, are delivered by car to most destinations, and rarely play outside their own backyard. They are tightly scheduled with structured sports programs, daycare, music lessons, and academic tutoring to “keep up.” And the children of today are bombarded with TV and movie characters: on their clothing, their backpacks, their toys, and even birthday party themes. Today’s preschoolers are robbed of the freedom to make individual choices....
A group of students in the London borough of Hackney have created a wonderful short film which warns kids: when it comes to junk food marketing, don’t believe what you see.  The film’s title, Where the Lies Are, refers to the front of junk food and drink packages and the ads trying to get kids hooked on them. The eight children in the film, aged 9 to 14, learned to read the nutrition information on the back of the package to get the real scoop: that food and beverages targeted to kids are often high in salt, sugar, and fat, and that food manufacturers are relentless and tricky in their marketing. As the film says, when it comes to junk food marketing: “We are surrounded!”  In the film, students visit an ad agency and learn how marketers...
Have you ever gone to a restaurant with your family in hopes of enjoying warm conversation over a delicious meal, only to be thwarted by the large, distracting television screens in the dining room? As the parent coordinator for The Waldorf School of Atlanta’s Parent Initiative for Media-Lite Living, I have felt resigned to this situation at restaurants and cafes. Then one evening, while out with my family, I was delighted to discover that there were alternatives to screen-full dining. My family went out for dinner at a local restaurant. I noticed there were no screens inside the restaurant (and not even recorded music!) and asked to speak to the manager. The manager came out and pleasantly addressed me, perhaps looking a little nervous...

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