CCFC Blog

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...
Given that my daughter (almost 2.5) is screen-free year-round, the week won’t really affect her (although hopefully her father will be a little less distracted). So for me, the week is more about looking in the mirror. Giving up TV will be easy. If it weren’t Screen-Free Week, I would definitely watch some of the NBA playoffs but given that my team (don’t laugh – the New Jersey Nets) isn’t in them, it won’t be much of sacrifice.  But the Internet is another story. I know I spend way too much time online. I never joined Facebook, but Twitter definitely has its hooks in me. I get lost clicking from tweets to news and commentary. And then there’s commentary on the commentary and before you know it, wow – is it really midnight? I swore I’d be...
So my daughter-in-law stopped by the office yesterday to pick up a Screen-Free Week Organizer’s Kit. National Screen-Free Week, April 18-24, is hosted by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. She, her husband, and the two best little girls in the world—okay, in my world—are going to join in the celebration by giving up screens for a week and hanging out in life. What’s interesting is that she doesn’t think it’s going to be so hard for the children. But she's not so sure about the adults. She’s determined to stop checking her phone at home (which annoys the kids) and their dad is going to stop “staring at the computer” (which also annoys the kids).  That got me thinking about my own Screen-Free Week commitment. At my house, it’s going...
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Your Baby Can Read! for false and deceptive marketing. YBCR is a $200 video-based system that allegedly teaches babies as young as three months to read. TheToday Show did a great story on our complaint, and we’re already hearing from parents who have been duped by the company. Reading experts from around the country agree that baby’s brains aren’t even developed enough to learn to read. Reading is more than memorizing what a word looks like on a flashcard—it requires comprehension. Like other baby media companies, Your Baby Can Read exploits our natural tendency to want what’s best for our children. There is no evidence that babies learn...

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