CCFC Blog

On April 12, 2011, CCFC filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Your Baby Can Read!, a $200 video series that encourages parents to put infants as young as three months in front of screens. The complaint is part of our ongoing campaign to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy babies by stopping the false and deceptive marketing of “educational” baby videos. Below are some of the false and deceptive advertising claims we cite in our complaint. Television Ads The Claim: Your Baby Can Read! teaches babies to read. The Facts...
This weekend I attended the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) here in Boston. The event, coordinated by our friends at Free Press, brought together over 2500 advocates for media justice from all over the world. It was electrifying to be among so many passionate, creative, hardworking media reform activists. What inspired me most about the conference was the diversity of issues on which we were able to connect. Individuals and organizations gathered to address issues critical to the development of a fair and democratic media system, issues ranging from war coverage to immigrant rights, from government accountability to gender equality. The mood of the conference was one of jubilation and solidarity. So you can imagine my surprise...
From Scholastic's Firefly Book Club, for pre-k and kindergarten children: If you can't read the small type, here it is: For girls, it's the "Perfectly Pink! Pack: Little princesses will love these five enchanting stories -- filled with everything PINK!" For the boys, it's the "Power Pack: Keep active kids reading with five power-packed books about rockets, bulldozers, and more." I guess if I want my daughter to be a good consumer I better tell her to put down that toy truck, stop being so active, and focus on being a little, enchanting, pink princess. And remind her that, in Scholastic's world,  it's the boys that have the...
The much acclaimed Nintendo 3DS promises endless hours of screen-time pleasure—and a load of trouble for parents and children. It provides 3D gaming with no bothersome glasses. Reviews glowingly describe a three dimensional experience that is more real and more compelling than ever before—instead of objects appearing to come at you, the new Nintendo technology creates a more realistic sense of depth. According to the New York Times, “Just about every child in America who likes video games is going to want a 3DS; the clamor will reach a fever pitch this weekend and will continue straight through the summer and into the holiday season.” The Times goes on to describe how the hand-held charmer is perfect for school bus rides. What it doesn’t...
Screen-Free Week 2012 Organizer's Kit
Screen-Free Week is almost here!  On April 18-24, children, families, schools, and communities around the country will turn off entertainment screen media (TV, video games, computer games, apps, etc.) and turn on life.  It’s a chance to unplug and read, play, daydream, create, explore nature, and spend more time with family and friends. Since 1996, millions of children and their families have participated in Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff).  Each year, thousands of parents, teachers, PTA members, librarians, scoutmasters, and clergy organize Screen-Free Weeks in their communities.  This year, Screen-Free celebrations are being planned around the country, including...
New from Skechers Entertainment - Skechers Entertainment, a division of footwear company Skechers USA, launches worldwide licensing campaign fueled by its kids show Zevo-3 (target of a CCFC FCC complaint) and upcoming direct-to-DVD animated movie Twinkle Toes (http://www.twinkletoesusa.com), based on Skechers girl-targeted footwear line. http://www.cynopsis.com/editions/kids/032211/ Cartoon Website Targets Kids and Network Execs – Toon Googles is a new cartoon website aimed at young children that “collects data surrounding viewer demographics, time spent watching and star ratings and shares this information for free with subscribers.”http://kidscreen.com/2011/03/18/cartoon-website-targets-kids-and...
I just returned from a 2-day meeting in Brussels. I was asked to participate with other experts from around the world (mostly from Europe) to address the problem of cross-border marketing of unhealthy food to children. In the age of satellite TV, the Internet, and other technologies, one country's standards may be insufficient to protect children from being exposed to junk food marketing. Because the meeting was not open to the general public, I cannot share all of what was discussed (the standards are still in draft form), but I can highlight a couple of presentations made to a larger group of "stakeholders." The only industry presentation was made by Rocco Renaldi, the managing director of a PR firm called Landmark Europe, which...
Great news! Last night, the Toronto District School Board rejected a proposal to install digital monitors in more than 70 area high schools. The monitors would have been used for news and school announcements and to showcase student projects. The catch? Thirty-percent of the air time – or two hours a day – would have been reserved for ads. The proposal’s proponents claimed that the ads could earn the district up to $100,000 a year, but opponents of the plan passionately argued against selling their students to marketers. “It is shameful, absolutely shameful, that we are being forced to prostitute ourselves and sell access to the children in this system because we are an underfunded institution,” said trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher. “We’re...
Disney Makes Nightmares Come True in Hospital Maternity Wards - This Yahoo! News article covers CCFC's action urging Disney to stop branding newborns literally at birth.http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110210/bs_ac/7825750_disney_makes_nightmares_come_true_in_hospital_maternity_wards In-app Purchases in iPad, iPhone, iPod Kids' Games Touch Off Parental Firestorm - Children, often unknowingly, are buying virtual goods from iTunes that cost their parents real money, sometimes lots. The author writes that many parents and public interest groups say that the marketing of these e-goods “doesn't have any business in a children's game.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/07/AR2011020706073....
Screen-Free Week 2011
“It’s amazing how much free time you have when you’re not in front of a screen…I never realized how much fun I missed by using screens instead of playing outside.” - Mackenzie Rothfuss, 7th grader, Bay City, Michigan Screen-Free Week is coming April 18-24 and, with your help, we can make it the best ever!  Will you organize a Screen-Free Week in your school or community?  It’s easy and fun.  Click here to purchase your 2011 Organizer’s Kit today! Anyone can be a Screen-Free Week organizer for any kind of group—from families, to schools, to whole communities.  Since 1996, tens of thousands of parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, scout leaders and clergy have helped millions of children turn...

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