CCFC Blog

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,...
The Next Great American Consumer--Infants to 3-year-olds: They're a new demographic marketers are hell-bent on reaching - Marketers talk about "beginning a relationship with the child" from birth by getting their brands in front of babies earlier than ever. Adweek covers this new trend of marketers targeting infants.http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/next-great-american-consumer-135207?page=1 Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect – As described in this article, the commercialized sexualization of girls through media and marketing has startling effects. Learn what CCFC, SPARK Summit, Hardy Girls Healthy Women and other advocacy groups are doing to make childhood better for...
 A new study from researchers at the University of Virginia finds that watching SpongeBob SquarePants has a negative influence on preschoolers' executive functioning. Children who watched 9 minutes of the show scored significantly worse on assessments designed to measure memory and problem solving skills than children who watched a slower-paced cartoon or kids who spent 9 minutes drawing. The findings are important, but perhaps not as important as Nickelodeon’s startling announcement when asked about the study. The children’s network told CNN that SpongeBob is intended for 6-11-year-olds, not preschoolers, which is a bit surprising considering thatSpongeBob is consistently among the highest rated shows for young...
The following post was written by guest bloggerBrandy King. After spending the last eight years working with research on children and media, Brandy now faces the challenge of raising two young boys in a media-saturated and commercialized world. This is the first in a series of posts about attempting to maintain a commercial-free childhood for her sons. If you've faced similar challenges, we invite you to comment below about your struggles and successes.  "Cameron, look! This is the backpack you're going to take to preschool!" I said with genuine excitement as I pointed to the catalog picture. The primary-colored backpack with the embroidered dumptruck was just perfect for my little guy. "No!" he yelled in that charming way two-year-olds...
My initial thoughts about the Canadian couple refusing to make public the sex of their baby were not kind. It seemed like just another media circus fomented by parents exploiting their children for celebrity—like Jon and Kate, or the balloon boy. But two things made me change my mind. I listened to an actual interview with the couple on the CBC. And someone sent me pictures of a new French lingerie line for four year olds.  Despite important gains made by the LBGT community, 2011 is a lousy time to be trying to raise children of any gender with a healthy, nuanced sense of what it means to be male or female. The unprecedented convergence of unfettered commercialism and ubiquitous screen media means that we are inundated with what the...
The food industry is throwing a zillion-dollar tantrum to quash proposed national nutritional guidelines for food advertised to kids. Meanwhile, yet another research study came out demonstrating the harm done by advertising directly to children.  As concern about childhood obesity escalates, the barrage of kid-targeted marketing for unhealthy food is increasingly identified as a factor—not the sole cause, but an important part of the problem—which could easily be remedied. The evidence keeps building for the need to stop inundating kids with food marketing. Remember the study from Stanford showing that branding even trumps our senses, at least for preschoolers. Kids were given food wrapped in McDonald’s wrappers and the same food wrapped...

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