CCFC Blog

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...

via Public Citizen's Commercial Alert

The National Park Service (NPS) has ignored the hue and cry from the public and finalized Director’s Order 21, a policy which permits greater corporate presence and influence in our national parks. This is how the public spoke out: Over 215,000 people signed a petition hosted by CCFC, Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert program, and CREDO Action Alert asking the NPS to abandon plans to permit corporate sponsorships, naming rights, and branding in our parks; 78% of 345 public comments filed with the agency opposed the Order and asked the NPS to keep our parks as a refuge from corporate marketing; and A coalition of 66 health groups asked the NPS to abandon plans to permit partnerships with alcohol sellers and recognition of their products in...
Good news! On January 5, 2017, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill which would have allowed digital billboards to go up on public school property, subjecting vulnerable children to bright commercial advertising. We applaud Governor Snyder for putting the welfare of children first!  When we heard about Senate Bill 593, which would have allowed billboards on school property, we partnered with Scenic Michigan on a petition drive to oppose the measure. We were disappointed when the Michigan legislature passed the bill, but didn’t despair: We sent Governor Snyder the petition with signatures from 115 Michigan residents and a letter urging him to veto the bill. As we told the Governor, marketing does not belong on school grounds, where...
Years ago, when I was a young financial advisor in Philadelphia, a friend shared with me a simple idea for the holidays. He'd heard it from his in-laws, Sam and Trudy, who were concerned about the gift-giving extravaganza overtaking their family Christmas celebration--and especially the impact it was having on their grandkids.  Sam and Trudy's solution: counter the "it's all about me" focus with a simple act of gratitude.  In addition to one gift, each grandchild also received a "share check." The share check was for $25, signed by Sam and Trudy, and almost filled in. The line for "pay to the order of" was intentionally left blank.  The goal: each grandchild had to give the money away to a charitable cause they were passionate about.  And...

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