CCFC Blog

Concerns are mounting over the amount of time children spend in front of screens. A psychologist, Dr. Aric Sigman, writes in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that a child born today will have spent a full year glued to screens by the time they reach the age of seven. Children also have unprecedented numbers of screens available to them. Screen addiction and "Facebook depression" are among the problematic effects cited. Read more in this BBC News story.
The FTC is taking action against a unit of the Warner Music Group Corp. for collecting personal information from young visitors of fan sites for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and others. The web operator collected names, email addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers of over 100,000 kids 12 and under in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Read more in this Associated Press article.
A new study finds that children on average are exposed to 4 hours of background TV each day. Babies and toddlers are exposed to even more -- 5.5 hours a day. Research shows that background TV interferes with children's development of skills like problems solving and communication that are gained through play. Here's more on this important study from CBS News.
The Federal Trade Commission is moving toward updating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to protect children online. The new privacy rules would require that children's sites get permission from parents before tracking and targeting children on the web for the purpose of advertising. CCFC and other children's advocates welcome the changes, since COPPA, at nearly 15 years old, doesn't adequately protect children's privacy in the current technological landscape. Read more in this New York Times article.
The authors of a new study find that 92% of the episodes they reviewed of the 50 most popular shows among kids aged 2 to 11 featured some form of "social aggression" -- on average about 14 incidents per hour. Physical bullying was present in roughly 80% of the shows they reviewed. These statistics are troubling to advocates for children, especially considering concerns over the rise of real-life bullying among kids.  Read more about the study here.
On Thursday, the Alabama State Board of Education will meet to discuss the future of Channel One News in Alabama’s schools.  And your board representative needs to hear from you. For more than 20 years, far too many Alabama schoolchildren have been forced to watch Channel One’s commercials in their classrooms every day.  But thanks to the efforts of advocates like you, educators are having a long overdue discussion about how Channel One commercializes education, wastes taxpayer funded class time, and promotes inappropriate websites, movies, and products to a captive audience of students.   This summer, CCFC sent a letter to Alabama State Superintendent Thomas Bice (many of you wrote to him as well) urging his office to conduct a thorough...
CCFC is proud to be part of a broad coalition working to protect children’s privacy online. In August, along with 17 other organizations, we filed five separate complaints with the FTC against McDonald’s, Subway, General Mills, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The complaints urge the FTC to investigate these companies for unfair and deceptive marketing practices that use refer-a-friend campaigns to incite children to engage in viral marketing. These campaigns invite children to submit their own, and their friends’, personal information without obtaining parental consent. You can read the complaint here. This week, the coalition petitioned the FTC to update COPPA by giving...
For nearly 25 years, Channel One News has been the nation’s most pernicious in-school advertiser, usurping taxpayer-funded class time by showing student-targeted commercials to a captive audience of schoolchildren. But there are signs that Channel One’s days may be numbered. Many schools have dumped the network and its student audience has shrunk from 8.1 million in 2000 to 5.5 million today.  But that’s 5.5 million too many. And now, in a desperate attempt to make up for lost revenue, Channel One is escalating its daily commercial assault by advertising inappropriate and disreputable websites to students and  turning entire broadcasts into ads. That’s why CCFC is calling on state departments of education to conduct a thorough review of...
We've got great news about our ongoing efforts to hold the so-called "genius baby" industry accountable for its false and deceptive marketing. Today, the Federal Trade Commission filed false advertising charges against the marketers of "Your Baby Can Read," a video series which retailed for as much as $200. In April 2011, CCFC filed an FTC complaint against Your Baby Can, LLC and its spokesperson and founder, Dr. Robert Titzer. Today's FTC action is a direct result of CCFC's efforts. Your Baby Can and former CEO Hugh Penton have agreed to settle the FTC's charges. The settlement bars the defendants from further use of the phrase "Your Baby Can Read" and imposes a $185 million judgment -- equal to the company's gross sales since 2008 --...
Your Baby Can Read
Great news! Your Baby Can, the producers of the video series Your Baby Can Read!, will no longer be deceiving families. The company, which falsely claimed its product taught babies to read, has shut down. Last year, CCFC petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to stop Your Baby Can, LLC and Dr. Robert Titzer, its founder and spokesperson, from marketing Your Baby Can Read! as educational for babies. The extensive television advertising for the $200 product, targeted mainly to parents of disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, claimed that a “short window of opportunity” for reading begins in infancy—yet there is no evidence that any such “window” exists. Nor is there evidence to support any of the company’s...

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