Commercializing Play

Remote Control Childhood: Combating the Hazards of Media Culture in Schools

The process by which children learn is transformed by media in ways that undermine play, problem solving, active learning, and social development. This article outlines the history of what CCFC’s Diane Levin calls “remote control childhood,” and the multiple ways that children are affected—including sexualized behavior, violent behavior, and consumerism. Strategies for dealing with remote control childhood are outlined.

Beyond Remote-Controlled Teaching and Learning: The Special Challenges of Helping Children Construct Knowledge Today

The more opportunities that children have to engage in creative play, the better they will become at mastering the academic and non-academic situations they later encounter. The time that children spend watching screens deprives them of time they could spend playing creatively and learning meaningfully. The article explores how we can help children construct knowledge today by encouraging creative play, limiting involvement with electronic media, and helping children find meaningful problems to solve.

Beyond Banning War and Superhero Play: Meeting Children’s Needs in Violent Times

Why children are interested in war play, and why educators are concerned. It is important to both reduce the amount of violence that children see, and help children find ways to work out the violence that they do see. Includes suggestions for addressing violent play—including promoting imagination and creative play and encouraging children to talk about media violence.

PSDD: Problem Solving Deficit Disorder

An exploration of the causes, impact, and cure of what CCFC’s Diane Levin calls “Problem Solving Deficit Disorder”; the condition in which children are no longer active agents of their involvement with the world. Beginning in infancy, children are bombarded with noise and electronic stimulation. This interferes with their ability to engage in play that promotes optimal development, learning, social skills, and conflict resolution.

Too Young To Be A Consumer: The Toll of Consumer Culture on the Rights of Childhood

The commercial culture that surrounds children today impacts what they like, how they treat each other, the ideas they have, what makes them happy, and even how likely they are to reach their full potential. Screen time and highly realistic, media-linked toys are depriving children of the creative play they need for their optimal development and wellbeing. Today, screen time takes away time from interacting and, thereby, learning how to interact with other children. CCFC’s Diane Levin explores ways to counteract the commercialization of childhood.


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