CCFC Blog

I’m troubled by an apparent split over children’s screen time between the guardians of children’s health and the guardians of their education. The public health community, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, is intensifying efforts to set limits on the amount of time young children spend with screen technology—one to two hours per day for older children and no screen time for babies and toddlers. Meanwhile, the National Association for the Education of Young Children—the nation’s premier professional organization for early childhood educators—recently released a draft of its statement on children and technology which advocates incorporating screens into all early childhood programs...
Late Friday, Scholastic, one of the world’s largest educational publishers, announced that it would immediately stop distributing “The United States of Energy,” a controversial fourth grade curriculum paid for by the American Coal Foundation.  The announcement came just two days after CCFC and Rethinking Schools launched a campaign demanding that Scholastic stop pushing coal in elementary schools.  It is a significant victory for anyone who believes that schools should be free of industry PR and teach fully and honestly about coal and other forms of energy. Scholastic’s decision demonstrates the growing strength of our movement and is a testament to your activism.  CCFC members old and new were determined to stop the coal industry from...
We have an important opportunity to help protect children’s and teens’ privacy online. H.R. 1895, the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011, will limit companies’ ability to track children on the web or through mobile devices and empower parents to protect their kids.  CCFC is proud to endorse this important legislation. Will you call your representative today and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Do Not Track Kids Act?  To Call Your Member of Congress: Dial the House Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative. (To look up your representative online, click here.) Phone Script: “I am calling to urge Rep. _______ to co-...
Life Notes: Too Much, Too Soon for Kids – Susan Linn and Diane Levin discuss commercialism, sexualization and bullying--and why it's important to fight for change--in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.http://www2.timesdispatch.com/lifestyles/2011/may/01/tdflair04-how-parents-can-combat-the-effects-of-me-ar-1000642/ Obama Ducks Food Fight Over Children’s Ads – CCFC's Josh Golin tells SmartMoney that we need a way to enforce the new FTC food marketing standards if we hope for success.http://blogs.smartmoney.com/paydirt/2011/05/02/obama-ducks-food-fight-over-children%E2%80%99s-ads/?mod=SMBlog Marketing Food to Children – In this letter to the editor in response to the New York Times...
I wasn't able to meet my ambitious goal of no Internet at all during the week. In fact, I didn't last very long thanks to a post at the Corporate Babysitter that I couldn't help reading . . . or responding to. I quickly realized that using the Internet was so ingrained in my work that forgoing entirely wasn't going to work. So I loosened up that rule and decided that I could read things and visit sites that were truly work-related. Making that delineation was easier than I anticipated, and I'm proud to say, I didn't stray into non-work related sites all week. The other part of my Screen-Free Week plan was to avoid all screens when not at work. This part was an unqualified success. The first couple of nights felt strange with the computer...
I not only survived, I thrived during Screen-Free Week. I can tell by my dreams. The last few nights of my screen freedom yielded some of the most spectacular dreams I’ve had in a long time. Friday night I was literally flying around town with an air-powered jet pack, sharing my environmentally-friendly transportation invention with interested onlookers. Saturday night I giddily watched a performance by a couple who erupted from an organized sit-down dinner into a colorful, acrobatic dance. My mind at rest could suddenly imagine the bizarre and the beautiful, flight and frolic. I attribute my dream renaissance to several days of living uninterrupted by screen media’s barrage. My waking experience of Screen-Free Week was not quite as...
I broke my Screen-Free Week pledge within 60 minutes of waking up on the first day—by walking into the gym. After drifting into my usual exercise-induced trance, I startled awake to find myself reading a news crawl on one of the eight wall-mounted televisions, each tuned to a different station. That prepared me, however, for the coming week. I was going to have to be vigilant not just about the screens I chose to give up, but about screens over which I have no control. I did pretty well—and I’m proud of it. The truth is that my hopes about reading more, taking time to do nothing, and going to the circus didn’t materialize—a death in the family had me on a plane to Detroit and spending time with several generations of cousins. I found...
April 25, 2011: More than ever, our efforts to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers are gaining significant and widespread media attention. With your help, CCFC is the driving force behind a much-needed national conversation about the commercialization of childhood.   Take a look at what happened in just ten days! On April 11, CCFC’s director Dr. Susan Linn was featured in “Parents decry marketers who push sexuality on little girls” in USA Today. On April 12, our Federal Trade Commission complaint against Your Baby Can Read was the subject of an Associated Press story syndicated in hundreds of newspapers and websites around the country. On April 13, our FTC...
National Screen-Free Week is April 18-24.  Here are 101 ideas for things to do during the week-long celebration.  Please comment to share your favorite screen-free activities! (Click here for a printable version -- use it to cover up your TV!)At Home1. Listen to the radio.2. Write an article or story.3. Paint a picture, a mural or a room.4. Write to the President, your Representative, or Senators.5. Read a book. Read to someone else.6. Learn to change the oil or tire on a car. Fix something.7. Write a letter to a friend or relative.8. Make cookies, bread or jam and share with a neighbor.9. Read magazines or newspapers. Swap them with friends.10. Go through your closets and donate items to Goodwill, the...
Screen-Free Week starts in a few days, and I am mostly excited for the challenge. I’m a little anxious about leaving the Facebook world for seven whole days (I wasn’t even able to do that during a trip to the French Alps last fall), but I look forward to escaping status update overload and all the virtual tagging and poking for a while. I’m happily anticipating more time for reading, listening to music, and enjoying longer walks with my two little dogs. But what I’m not so happily anticipating is tuning out Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert next week. I have identified my Screen-Free Week Achilles’ heel.  I’ve considered proposing that CCFC choose the date for Screen-Free Week based on the Comedy Central duo’s vacation schedules, but...

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