Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond




CCFC's 5th Annual Summit

Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond

Wheelock College, Boston

October 26-28, 2006


On October 26-28, diverse participants from around the world gathered at Judge Baker Children's Center and Wheelock College for a weekend of education and activism and a celebration of "Child Honoring." 


Thursday, October 26:  BusRadio Protest

Events kicked off with a protest against BusRadio, a new Massachusetts-based company created to force children to listen to commercial radio broadcasts on school buses around the country.  The demonstration was held at the Boston offices of Sigma Partners, the venture capital firm that is funding BusRadio.  Legendary children's entertainer Raffi Cavoukian joined advocates for children from all over the world to say, "Turn off BusRadio" and "Our Students are Not for Sale!"  In a sign of how concerned BusRadio is about CCFC's activism, the company sent four undercover employees to monitor the goings-on.  The protest received significant media coverage and was filmed for the upcoming documentary Corporations in the Classroom.


Joe Kelly, Dads and Daughters; Monique Tilford, Center for a

 New American Dream; Burt Simpson, Troubadour Records


Thursday, October 26:  An Evening with Raffi

Thursday evening CCFC presented the Fred Rogers Integrity Award to Raffi Cavoukian, the beloved children's troubadour.  Raffi was honored for his strong stance against the commercialization of childhood and his refusal to market directly to children.  He has even turned down film proposals based on Baby Beluga – his signature song – because the film's funding depended on child-targeted advertising.


After receiving the award, Raffi gave an unforgettable presentation -- in word and in song -- of his unique philosophy of Child Honoring.   Raffi's heartfelt and inspirational performance set the perfect tone for the summit.




Raffi delights the crowd.


Friday and Saturday, October 27 & 28:  Presentations and Workshops


Friday featured presentations and workshops on an array of important topics, including the ways that marketing affects children in poverty and children of color; and the impact of commercialized sex and violence on children.  Saturday's highlights included a keynote address from Alex Molnar on marketing in schools, an inspiring panel on effective advocacy strategies, and the surprise presentation of the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation to CCFC's Susan Linn.   

You can read summaries of many of the presentations by clicking here.


Here's what some of the attendees had to say about their experience:


"As someone who has traveled to all sorts of media literacy conferences in the States and the world, this one was extraordinary! . . . Drawing from the work of experts and advocates in education, psychology, law, cultural studies, communication, and women's studies, the sessions explored the myriad ways that childhood is compromised by materialism marketed as choice, happiness, and independence. Unlike other "critical" conferences that can leave you with an overwhelming desire to move to Canada or Switzerland, CCFC empowered its audience with a culminating session on the successes of diligence and activism."  Julie Frechette, Worcester State College


"I came home jazzed and non-stop talking about things I heard that were meaningful to me and I wanted to immediately integrate into work." - Cordelia Anderson, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children


And from our anonymous summit evaluations:

  • "Wonderful mix of presenters and participants."

  • "Extremely useful and gave appropriate strategies to use within my classroom and during interactions with parents."

  • "The workshops I attended (Media/Brazil, KoolMixx, ACME) were wonderful examples of inspirations for advocacy…these stories keep you going."

  • "I can use much of what I've learned in my school counseling work. Much of this extends what I already teach in nutrition and health. As a person, it has brought awareness to me of the depth of the problem so I can be more of an informed activist."

  • "A total inspiration."

  • "This was so useful and helpful. Really fired me up and I made lots of connections with activists in my local area."


Workshop participants discuss "Raising Children in Commercial Culture"



Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Lesley University


Lisa Fager, Industry Ears



CCFC's Susan Linn and Raffi



Alex Molnar delivers a keynote address on the

commercialization of schools.



Ana Lucia Villela and Marcos Nisti discuss their work to protect children from commercial exploitation in Brazil.