CCFC Blog

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...
After a two-year campaign by CCFC, the NFL has ended a controversial fantasy football game for children.  In 2015, we issued an in-depth report on how the NFL intensively targets children, including their NFL Rush Fantasy Football game, where kids aged six to twelve won weekly prizes like an XBox One or $1,000 cash and a Grand Prize of $5,000 cash or a vacation for three in Hawaii. Our report documented how the league even created a “curriculum” to promote fantasy football in schools!  In February 2016, we sent a letter to the NFL demanding that they stop promoting fantasy football with valuable prizes to children, and stop offering a school curriculum based on fantasy football. We told the NFL that it was unconscionable to entice children...
Maryland lawmakers are prepared to be the first in the nation to act to protect school children from overuse of screen technologies. Can you contact key lawmakers to voice your support? House Bill 866/Senate Bill 1089 would require the Maryland department of health to develop and implement health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms. Given the documented health risks for children, it is critical that schools have age-appropriate guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools.  Below are instructions for emailing Anne Kaiser, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Joan Carter Conway, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs...
CCFC has filed written testimony in support of a bill which would ban junk food marketing in schools in Rhode Island. We suggested that they remove a loophole which would permit corporations to sell “lookalike” snacks—versions of junk foods like Doritos, Cheetos, and Pop Tarts with just enough fat, sodium, or sugar taken out to meet nutritional guidelines. But we were glad to join with Corporate Accountability International in applauding this effort to protect vulnerable kids from unhealthy marketing messages in schools. March 1, 2017Senate Committee on EducationState of Rhode Island General Assembly Testimony of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Corporate Accountability International in favor of Senate Bill...
On February 22, 2017, CCFC submitted testimony to the Maryland House of Representatives in support of House Bill 866, which would require the Maryland department of health to develop and implement health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms. This legislation will help ensure that schools use technology in ways that enhance learning without harming children.  Dear Chairman Kaiser, Vice Chair Turner, and Members of the Committee, Thank you for considering House Bill 866, "Primary and Secondary Education - Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures - Digital Devices." On behalf of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), I am writing to ask that...
You’ve probably heard this one: “Marketing tricks work to get kids to eat junk food, so let’s use them to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables!”  Some well-intentioned groups and individuals have jumped on that bandwagon—including Michelle Obama, who supported a campaign to use Sesame Street characters to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. A 2016 Cornell University study said decorating school salad bars with colorful banners and showing an enticing program on a TV monitor increased the number of students taking vegetables. News reports gobbled up the report as evidence that these tactics work, even though the study didn’t establish that the students actually ate more salads or address long-term impact—and they ignored...
Residents of Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island: we need your help! Can you visit your local school and let CCFC know about any food marketing on display? The food and beverage industry continues to target kids in school in an effort to cultivate the next generation of consumers. But schools should be safe zones, where kids can get a breather from the onslaught of food marketing and parents don’t have to worry that their children’s health is being undermined.  Last year, CCFC worked with the American Heart Association and Voices for Healthy Kids to advocate for legislation in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island which would have restricted the marketing of foods in schools. The bills did not make it...

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