CCFC Blog

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...
Reading is one of our favorite screen-free activities any time of year, so we’re very excited that in 2017, Children’s Book Week is the same week as Screen-Free Week! An annual celebration of books and reading, Children’s Book Week holds events in bookstores, libraries, and communities, connecting children with their favorite authors and illustrators in person. Find an event near you, or check out the simple steps for hosting your own book-focused Screen-Free Week event. Screen-Free Week kids' books Get in on the screen-free action early with books about unplugging! We’ve put together a list of great titles to read with kids—or for kids to read themselves—before the week kicks off. They’re full of ideas for screen-free...
We’re big fans of the Irish Heart Foundation’s new “Stop Targeting Kids” campaign. It’s a fun and easy-to-share way to get the point across: corporations have plenty of dirty tricks up their sleeves in order to get kids hooked on junk food!  The campaign’s videos feature “brand managers” happily revealing their best kid-targeting techniques — like this one starring Kerry Connolly Cooper of the fictional “Chewbos” candy: “What do I love most about advertising online? Probably that kids don’t even realize they’re watching an ad. Or that they’re being targeted. That way they really let their guard down. They’re so...
CCFC members demanded that children be protected from sneaky marketing when playing Pokemon GO, and got results!  Pokemon GO, produced by Niantic, Inc., is a location-based augmented reality (“AR”) game, where players visit specific real world places in order to capture virtual creatures. While some of these places are parks and landmarks, others are paid for by advertisers to entice game players into their brick and mortar locations. In the U.S., Starbucks and Sprint are among the companies that have sponsored “PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms.” Starbucks entices game players with a purple Pokemon GO Frappucino loaded with fat and sugar. And when the game launched in Japan, all McDonald’s restaurants became Pokemon gyms – and further lured kids...

Pages

Subscribe to CCFC Blog