February 2019

Celebrating Screen-Free Week; Putting Kids' Privacy First; Two concerning screen time studies; Featured Resource; Upcoming Webinar: Commercialism is the Missing Link; Turning up the heat on Facebook; Recommended Reading

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In this issue:

  • Celebrating Screen-Free Week
  • Putting Kids' Privacy First
  • Two concerning screen time studies
  • Featured Resource
  • Upcoming Webinar: Commercialism is the Missing Link
  • Turning up the heat on Facebook
  • Recommended Reading

Celebrating Screen-Free Week

From April 29 to May 5, kids, families, and communities around the world will rediscover the joy of life without screens – and you're invited to join! Whether you've celebrated Screen-Free Week in the past or you're thinking about it for the first time, our brand new website has everything you need to make your week great.

Find celebrations near you. Libraries, schools, and other community organizations throw some great screen-free parties: game nights, bike rodeos, ice cream sundae making, nature hikes, and so much more. See what's happening in your community with our interactive event map. We're adding events every day, so keep checking back to see what's new.

Share your own event. Registering your Screen-Free Week only takes a minute. Register to get customized tips, resources, and ideas for screen-free fun. And if you're holding a public event, you can add your celebration to our event map!

Find helpful resources. Whether you're organizing a community event or just celebrating at home, we've got everything you need to make your week a success. Our free resources include pledge cards, parent letters, school guides, family guides, and, of course, our classic organizer's kit!

Crack open a good book. This year, our partners at Children's Book Week are celebrating CBW's 100th Birthday! Libraries, bookstores, and schools will be hosting combined events all week long – and you can host one, too! Check out our tips for holding a combined Screen-Free Week/Children's Book Week event.

We can't wait to celebrate with you!

Putting Kids' Privacy First

As lawmakers discuss comprehensive federal data privacy legislation in the coming year, we're proud to be co-founders of Privacy and Digital Rights for All, a coalition of consumer and civil rights advocates calling for real, robust data privacy laws. Unlike faux privacy efforts guided by industry lobbyists which let lawmakers pat themselves on the back while corporations continue merrily along stealing data, our Framework for Comprehensive Privacy Protection and Digital Rights is driven by the needs of real people – and most importantly, by the needs of children.

To learn more about our Framework and why comprehensive privacy protection can't wait, read our blog post and join us March 4 in DC or via livestream for a briefing with CCFC's Executive Director Josh Golin and other members of Privacy and Digital Rights for All, hosted by U.S. Senators Edward Markey and Tom Udall.

Two concerning screen time studies

Two new studies raise a host of concerns about young children's screen time. One finds that finds that screen time for children under two rose from an already-too-high 1.3 hours per day in 1997 to a whopping 3 hours per day in 2014. Meanwhile, researchers in Canada found that children who spent more time with screens at age 2 did worse on developmental tests at age 3. Similar results were found when kids were tested at age 5. "What is new in this study is that we are studying really young children, so aged 2-5, when brain development is really rapidly progressing and also child development is unfolding so rapidly," Dr Sheri Madigan, first author of the study from the University of Calgary, told the Guardian. "We are getting at these lasting effects."

Featured Resource

Parents concerned about screen time can set limits, rules, and other top-down approaches -- but what about when parents aren't there? Live Above the Noise, a new podcast from developmental and educational psychologist Dr. Rob Reiher and producer Wayne Yercha, introduces listeners to the Choice-Full Family Project, a series of tools and questions to help children develop their own inner compass around screen and device use. Episode 1 focuses on how developing an inner compass can help kids resist digital manipulation, marketing, and screen overuse all the time, not just when parents are watching. Find the podcast and supporting materials in the Action Network Resource Library.

Upcoming Webinar: Commercialism is the Missing Link

One of the most troubling problems associated with children's screen time is that most media aimed at kids are rife with overt and covert advertising. On March 18 at 7PM, join CCFC founder Dr. Susan Linn and Executive Director Josh Golin to learn how apps, games, and digital devices are designed to benefit marketers at the expense of children. Susan and Josh will discuss kids' developmental vulnerabilities to ads, the sophisticated techniques corporations routinely use to target kids on digital devices, the need for better policies to protect kids, and practical steps families can take to limit the harmful effects of commercialism on their children. Register now.

Turning up the heat on Facebook

Last month, after news of Facebook stealing millions of dollars from kids and families, we renewed our demand that Facebook pull the plug on its Messenger Kids app. Now, we're asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company's practices of targeting children and intentionally leading them into making unauthorized charges. Facebook internal documents called the practice "friendly fraud," but there's nothing friendly about it. CCFC is proud to join 16 other consumer advocacy groups in filing a complaint asking the FTC to investigate and stand up to protect children.

Recommended Reading