Commentary

Toying with the Happy Meal: Is McDonald’s evading the law?

by: 

Michele Simon

While most media outlets dubbed it the "Happy Meal toy ban," the ordinance passed in San Francisco last year didn't ban anything. The law just placed a few reasonable nutrition guidelines (a maximum of 600 calories per meal and limits on fat and salt, for example) for restaurants using free toy incentives to lure kids into a lifetime of bad eating habits. In a rare victory for children's health, the bill passed despite heavy lobbying by McDonald's.

Why I’m (Pre)Occupied by Miley Cyrus: Does Hannah Montana Still Matter?

by: 

Susan Linn, Ed.D.

I don’t know how you feel about the Occupy Movement or about Miley Cyrus. As for me, having spent the past decade speaking out against the corporate takeover of childhood, I tend to be sympathetic to the 99% message and beyond unsympathetic to the contribution Cyrus-as-Disney-star-Hannah-Montana has made to the commercialized sexualization of very young girls.

School food politics: What’s missing from the pizza-as-vegetable reporting

by: 

Michele Simon

Over the last couple of days, news outlets have been having a field day with a proposal from Congress that pizza sauce be considered a vegetable to qualify for the National School Lunch program. Headlines like this one were typical: “Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable? Congress says Yes.” (The blogs were a tad more childish; for example LA Weekly: Congress to USDA: Pizza is So a Vegetable, Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah.)

Channel One Promotes "Not Safe For School" Pics in Schools

by: 

Josh Golin

If you're one of the 5.5 million students in a school with Channel One News, you have to watch ads every day as part of your taxpayer-funded class time. And one thing you'll see is ads for websites operated by Channel One's parent company, Alloy Media and Marketing. One of those websites is Teen.com. Despite the name, Channel One advertises Teen.com to both its junior high and high school students.

Nickelodeon Admits SpongeBob Not Fit For Preschoolers

by: 

Josh Golin

 A new study from researchers at the University of Virginia finds that watching SpongeBob SquarePants has a negative influence on preschoolers' executive functioning. Children who watched 9 minutes of the show scored significantly worse on assessments designed to measure memory and problem solving skills than children who watched a slower-paced cartoon or kids who spent 9 minutes drawing.

"But Mama, just buy one at the store"

by: 

Brandy King

The following post was written by guest bloggerBrandy King. After spending the last eight years working with research on children and media, Brandy now faces the challenge of raising two young boys in a media-saturated and commercialized world. This is the first in a series of posts about attempting to maintain a commercial-free childhood for her sons. If you've faced similar challenges, we invite you to comment below about your struggles and successes. 

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