CCFC Blog

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...
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...
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...
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...
On April 12, 2011, CCFC filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Your Baby Can Read!, a $200 video series that encourages parents to put infants as young as three months in front of screens. The complaint is part of our ongoing campaign to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy babies by stopping the false and deceptive marketing of “educational” baby videos. Below are some of the false and deceptive advertising claims we cite in our complaint. Television Ads The Claim: Your Baby Can Read! teaches babies to read. The Facts...
This weekend I attended the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) here in Boston. The event, coordinated by our friends at Free Press, brought together over 2500 advocates for media justice from all over the world. It was electrifying to be among so many passionate, creative, hardworking media reform activists. What inspired me most about the conference was the diversity of issues on which we were able to connect. Individuals and organizations gathered to address issues critical to the development of a fair and democratic media system, issues ranging from war coverage to immigrant rights, from government accountability to gender equality. The mood of the conference was one of jubilation and solidarity. So you can imagine my surprise...
The much acclaimed Nintendo 3DS promises endless hours of screen-time pleasure—and a load of trouble for parents and children. It provides 3D gaming with no bothersome glasses. Reviews glowingly describe a three dimensional experience that is more real and more compelling than ever before—instead of objects appearing to come at you, the new Nintendo technology creates a more realistic sense of depth. According to the New York Times, “Just about every child in America who likes video games is going to want a 3DS; the clamor will reach a fever pitch this weekend and will continue straight through the summer and into the holiday season.” The Times goes on to describe how the hand-held charmer is perfect for school bus rides. What it doesn’t...
From Scholastic's Firefly Book Club, for pre-k and kindergarten children: If you can't read the small type, here it is: For girls, it's the "Perfectly Pink! Pack: Little princesses will love these five enchanting stories -- filled with everything PINK!" For the boys, it's the "Power Pack: Keep active kids reading with five power-packed books about rockets, bulldozers, and more." I guess if I want my daughter to be a good consumer I better tell her to put down that toy truck, stop being so active, and focus on being a little, enchanting, pink princess. And remind her that, in Scholastic's world,  it's the boys that have the...
Screen-Free Week 2012 Organizer's Kit
Screen-Free Week is almost here!  On April 18-24, children, families, schools, and communities around the country will turn off entertainment screen media (TV, video games, computer games, apps, etc.) and turn on life.  It’s a chance to unplug and read, play, daydream, create, explore nature, and spend more time with family and friends. Since 1996, millions of children and their families have participated in Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff).  Each year, thousands of parents, teachers, PTA members, librarians, scoutmasters, and clergy organize Screen-Free Weeks in their communities.  This year, Screen-Free celebrations are being planned around the country, including...
New from Skechers Entertainment - Skechers Entertainment, a division of footwear company Skechers USA, launches worldwide licensing campaign fueled by its kids show Zevo-3 (target of a CCFC FCC complaint) and upcoming direct-to-DVD animated movie Twinkle Toes (http://www.twinkletoesusa.com), based on Skechers girl-targeted footwear line. http://www.cynopsis.com/editions/kids/032211/ Cartoon Website Targets Kids and Network Execs – Toon Googles is a new cartoon website aimed at young children that “collects data surrounding viewer demographics, time spent watching and star ratings and shares this information for free with subscribers.”http://kidscreen.com/2011/03/18/cartoon-website-targets-kids-and...

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