June 2017

Help CCFC be a champion for a safe childhood; Wonder Woman is not appropriate for young children; Tips for screen-free summer fun; End food marketing in your community’s schools; CCFC to the FTC: Time to crack down on misleading Instagram influencers; Protecting Internet privacy; Visit CCFC at NEA Expo in Boston, June 30 and July 1; Recommended reading.

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In this issue:

  • Help CCFC be a champion for a safe childhood 
  • Wonder Woman is not appropriate for young children
  • Tips for screen-free summer fun
  • End food marketing in your community’s schools
  • CCFC to the FTC: Time to crack down on misleading Instagram influencers
  • Protecting Internet privacy
  • Visit CCFC at NEA Expo in Boston, June 30 and July 1
  • Recommended reading.

Help CCFC be a champion for a safe childhood 

We’re nearing the deadline for our Spring fundraiser, and if we can raise $25,000 by June 30, CCFC Board member John Mack will match it. We’re so close – if we raise another $7,000, we’re there!

A tax-deductible gift of any amount helps us create resources for people like parent educator Katy Smith. Katy, 2011’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year, uses CCFC’s materials regularly in her work with families. She supports CCFC because “CCFC is a champion for a safe childhood in a space where we don’t often find champions.” Read more about Katy, and why CCFC is so crucial to her work, on our blog.

Thank you to all those who’ve already donated. And to those who haven’t, please consider it! The clock is ticking! 

Wonder Woman is not appropriate for young children

Given the complete gender imbalance in comic book movies – and the dearth of positive female role models in blockbusters – it’s not surprising that so many adults are excited about Wonder Woman. But as posts like this one about young children’s reactions to Wonder Woman go viral, an important point is being lost: Wonder Woman is a PG-13 film with violence, killing, and intense action sequences. Over the last 10 years, the motion picture industry has extensively marketed violent comic book movies to preschoolers through toy tie-ins, TV ads, and fast food promotions. Faced with this barrage of marketing, it’s no wonder many adults think these movies are appropriate for young children. But they’re not. And from a whole child perspective, media violence should never be “must-see” – even if a movie serves an important corrective to superhero gender stereotypes. 

CCFC summer media series: Tips for screen-free summer fun

Summer is here, and we want to help you make the most of the season. This month’s resource is from our friends at TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Childhood Entertainment). The TRUCE guide is all about water play! Water can provide hours of screen-free entertainment, especially during hot weather. One activity suggestion is “painting” with water. Fill a bucket with water, and provide paint brushes or rollers. The water darkens the surface temporarily and makes it look like a fresh coat of paint. Add inexpensive sidewalk chalk for a colorful dimension! Other ideas include a “toy car wash” and water-based games such as “Dribble, Dribble, Drench” (a variation of “Duck, Duck, Goose”).

Whether during the day, after camp, weekends, or on a family vacation, the guide provides easy-to-read and easy-to-grab tools for today’s busy family schedule, perfect for fridge-posting or packing in a travel bag. Enjoy—and send us your screen-free summer photos!

End food marketing in your community’s schools

Corporations are eager to market in schools—where kids are captive and impressionable—to create brand loyalty. That’s why we’re excited to share ChangeLab Solutions’ new tools to stop all food marketing in schools. 

This fall, new USDA regulations will require school districts to have a “local school wellness policy” that promotes student health, well-being and ability to learn. One strong measure includes a ban on the in-school marketing of foods that don’t meet nutrition standards. Unfortunately, companies are already finding ways to skirt regulations: they sell school versions of junk food like Doritos, re-portioned to meet nutrition guidelines, and hold junk food fundraisers like McTeacher’s Nights after school hours. ChangeLab offers a model policy that would close these loopholes. Use these resources to advocate for policies that give students the protections they deserve!

CCFC to the FTC: Time to crack down on misleading Instagram influencers

“Influencer marketing”—when celebrities and popular bloggers sell brands and products to their followers on social media—is a rapidly growing industry, and it’s growing at kids’ and teens’ expense. Musicians, actors, athletes, and YouTube stars often fail to disclose that their “recommendations” are actually paid ads. In April, in response to a letter from CCFC, Public Citizen, and Center for Digital Democracy, the FTC sent 90 letters to influencers and advertisers reminding them that paid posts on Instagram must be clearly disclosed as advertisements.  

But an investigation by Public Citizen has shown that recipients have ignored the FTC’s warning, and that a full 79% of ads after the letters were received were undisclosed. In light of the findings, CCFC and our partners have sent a second letter to the FTC, urging the agency to take real enforcement action to stop influencers and advertisers from deceiving the millions of people—including more than half of US teenagers—who use Instagram every day. It’s time to hold repeat offenders accountable and protect all users, especially impressionable kids, from this manipulative practice.

Protecting Internet privacy

Earlier this year, the Trump administration reversed new Federal Communications Commission rules requiring Internet Service Providers to get customers’ explicit permission before sharing their usage data—including browsing history and location information—with third parties. This sensitive data, which includes data about and by children, is a boon to ISPs and advertisers, who are hungry to target users with as much personalized advertising as possible. Several states are now considering putting protection measures back in place, and CCFC is supporting those efforts. CCFC’s David Monahan recently testified in support of a bill in Massachusetts, and his letter to the editor ran in the Boston Globe. Consumers deserve full control and disclosure about how their data will be collected and used!

Visit CCFC at NEA Expo in Boston June 30 and July 1

CCFC and our partners at Corporate Accountability International and Public Citizen are exhibiting at the annual National Education Association (NEA) Expo in Boston! On June 30 and July 1, we’ll be building momentum against McTeacher’s Nights, “fundraisers” that return little to schools but earn profits and brand loyalty for the corporation. During the NEA meetings, Cecily Myart-Cruz of United Teachers Los Angeles will be bringing forward a resolution, like the one she helped pass in Los Angeles, barring McTeacher’s Nights for all NEA members on the grounds that the marketing schemes are against NEA values. 

We’ll also be telling folks about other important CCFC initiatives, like our recently released Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy, and our plans for a national practitioner network to address the impacts of screen time on child development. If you’ll be at the Expo, visit us at Booth #27!

Recommended reading