CCFC Blog

Last month, when Congress declared pizza a vegetable, it was hard to believe things could get much worse. But never underestimate politicians’ ability to put corporate interests ahead of children’s health. In the massive budget bill just passed, Congress stuck in language to require the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a cost/benefit analysis before finalizing a report that would provide the food industry with science-based nutrition guidelines for marketing to children. Experts from four federal agencies put heads together, and for the past two years have tried to complete its charge (which ironically, came from Congress in the first place) amidst powerful industry push-back. An objective approach is badly needed because Big Food’s own...
While most media outlets dubbed it the "Happy Meal toy ban," the ordinance passed in San Francisco last year didn't ban anything. The law just placed a few reasonable nutrition guidelines (a maximum of 600 calories per meal and limits on fat and salt, for example) for restaurants using free toy incentives to lure kids into a lifetime of bad eating habits. In a rare victory for children's health, the bill passed despite heavy lobbying by McDonald's. The law is scheduled to go into effect today, but the fast food giant -- who didn't want to change the nutritional makeup of its Happy Meals -- has devised a clever gimmick to maintain the status quo. Instead of giving the toys away for free, parents will now pay 10 cents for the latest plastic...
I don’t know how you feel about the Occupy Movement or about Miley Cyrus. As for me, having spent the past decade speaking out against the corporate takeover of childhood, I tend to be sympathetic to the 99% message and beyond unsympathetic to the contribution Cyrus-as-Disney-star-Hannah-Montana has made to the commercialized sexualization of very young girls. So how am I supposed to feel now that she produced a rather moving music video in support of Occupy protests all over the world? It does a great job of using its genre to celebrate the democratic right to protest and bear witness to its (sometimes brutal) repression. If Cyrus is still popular among young people, it probably has a shot at awakening interest in organized dissent. For a...
On November 30, 2011 CCFC presented its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for Worst Toy of the Year to the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet. Capturing 43% of the vote, the first “iPad” for babies beat out rivals the I Am T-Pain Mic (32%), Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack (16%), WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena (5%), and Monopoly - Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Collector's Edition (4%).While the Vinci may have taken the day, each of the five exceptional finalists had its passionate supporters.  CCFC members explain which they voted for and why below.  ...
Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet
 Capturing 43% of the vote, the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet has won the 2011 TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for Worst Toy of the Year.  The first “iPad” for babies beat out rivals the I Am T-Pain Mic (32%), Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack (16%), WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena (5%), and Monopoly - Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Collector's Edition (4%). The push to convince parents that screen time is educational for babies is what propelled Vinci to outpace its formidable competition.  “While all the choices were horrifying, the Vinci seems the most insidious to me,” said CCFC member Anne M....
This post was written by guest blogger Brandy King of Knowledge Linking. After spending the last eight years working with research on children and media, Brandy now faces the challenge of raising two young boys in our media-saturated and commercialized world.   Yet another holiday season has arrived with its doorbuster sales, cyber deals, and mile-long wish lists. What does a commercial-free family do when faced with the consumerism and commercialism that rule the season?   The wide variety of answers I received from some like-minded parents demonstrates just how many different ways there are to handle all the holiday hoopla. How does your family respond to these situations? Tell us in the comments!   Do you say anything specific...
Over the last couple of days, news outlets have been having a field day with a proposal from Congress that pizza sauce be considered a vegetable to qualify for the National School Lunch program. Headlines like this one were typical: “Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable? Congress says Yes.” (The blogs were a tad more childish; for example LA Weekly: Congress to USDA: Pizza is So a Vegetable, Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah.) Most reporters, pressed for time and resources, tend to simplify complex stories and this was no exception. In one camp, so the stories went, are nutrition advocates who want healthier school meals, while Republicans are saying the feds shouldn’t be making such decisions. Here is one example of this framing of the story: ...
PepsiCo has long been my poster child for food corporations whose actions speak louder than words when to comes to responsible marketing. CEO Indra Nooyi loves to tout the company's "Performance with Purpose" and show off the company's "good-for-you" foods that it gets to define. Most don't realize that PepsiCo is the nation's largest food company, with five divisions spanning from soda to salty snacks to breakfast cereals. With annual revenues of $60 billion and 285,000 employees, PepsiCo is an multinational corporate behemoth. Now the company's true colors are revealed in all their twisted marketing glory. A legal complaint filed today with the Federal Trade Commission by the Center for Digital Democracy  and several other groups called...
This post was written by guest blogger Brandy King of Knowledge Linking. After spending the last eight years working with research on children and media, Brandy now faces the challenge of raising two young boys in our media-saturated and commercialized world.  After writing about my small victory over a Thomas the Tank Engine backpack last month, I got a lot of responses from other parents who are also trying to live commercial-free. But the other response I got was curiosity about "why I bother." My main reasons are below; what are yours? Why do I bother trying to limit commercialized items in our family? Creativity. It is often said that "play is a child's work." Children learn about the world through the toys they play with, the stories...
If you're one of the 5.5 million students in a school with Channel One News, you have to watch ads every day as part of your taxpayer-funded class time. And one thing you'll see is ads for websites operated by Channel One's parent company, Alloy Media and Marketing. One of those websites is Teen.com. Despite the name, Channel One advertises Teen.com to both its junior high and high school students. So I stopped by Teen.com today to see what was being promoted to a captive audience of children as young as 11. Here's what's on the homepage: Click on the link and it gets worse.There are the promised pics of Gleestar Naya Rivera in various stages of undress,...

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