Commentary

Screen-Free Week Spotlight: Spring Garden Township

Christine Kaufman is a first-time Screen-Free Week Organizer. We asked her about her experience planning a Screen-Free Week in Spring Garden Township, Pennsylvania.

How will Screen-Free Week be celebrated in Spring Garden?

Spring Garden will be working with local businesses to provide an activity each night for the kids to participate in. This flyer lists the free events we have planned and how kids sign up:

No Purchase Necessary

by: 

CCFC Member Bethany Stewart

I recently attended the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood summit.  Interestingly enough, Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids, opened the event by talking not about marketing to kids, but instead about the effects of marketing and media on parents.  While marketers know that sex sells nearly everything, they also know fear and insecurity sell just about everything else.  They know how to get our attention - make us think for a second that our children might not be living to their full potential or heaven fo

Retailer Just Says No to Exploiting Children

by: 

Michele Simon, JD, MPH
"All products that feature trademarked cartoon characters have been discontinued."

As the frequent bearer of bad news about the food industry, I am thrilled to share a positive story. Last month, MOM's Organic Market, a small retail chain based in the Baltimore area, announced it would stop carrying products featuring children's cartoon characters:

Products ranging from Dora the Explorer frozen soybeans to Elmo juice boxes will be discontinued and replaced with organic alternatives in cartoon-free packaging.

Gender identification begins…

by: 

Mary L. Rothschild

“The consumer embryo begins to develop in the first year of existence…Children begin their consumer journey in infancy…and they certainly deserve consideration as consumers at that time.”  - James U. McNeal, Pioneering Youth Marketer (From “Consuming Kids”)

My new role as grandparent gave me a bird’s eye view of how the seeds of consumerism, especially gender-specific marketing, are sown early in the lives of expectant and new parents and their baby.

Commercialism Creeps In

by: 

Brandy King

Do you ever look around your house and realize that despite all your good intentions, commercialism has somehow crept in?  When my son was born in 2008 I vowed to keep commercialism out of our house.

Five years later, I've got two kids (ages 4.5 and 2), vehicles from Cars strewn about our family room, and the Thomas the Train theme song bursting out of an engine I just stepped on. So sometimes I look around and think:

How did this happen???

Taking on Violent Advertisements at Bus Shelters

by: 

CCFC Member Amy Vachon

For a few months now, I’ve been hopping the local bus home from work twice each week. I must admit that I haven’t been a regular bus rider for a number of years. But the experience has been pretty gratifying, with a bus stop nearby, entertaining drivers, an app that tells me exactly when the bus will pull up (wow – amazing!), and cool new bus shelters erected in our town.

But after a while, I started to notice the advertisements plastered on those shelters in between obsessive peaks at my phone to see exactly when the bus would pull up. And I started to get mad.

Feds to Parents: Big Food Still Exploiting Your Children, Good Luck with That

by: 

Michele Simon

If you wanted to ensure a report gets buried, a good time to release it would be the Friday before a holiday week. That the Federal Trade Commission released its latest report on marketing to children then speaks volumes about how seriously the Obama administration is taking this intractable problem.

Questioning the “New Normal”

by: 

Mary L. Rothschild
Mother and child watch video on a tablet in hammock

Amazon’s advertisement: “We are the People With the Smile on the Box,” brought media ecologist Neil Postman to mind. On page 20 of his book Technopoly, he says:

New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop (20).

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