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Stop the Unfair Ads on YouTube Kids

If we don’t act now, Google could singlehandedly demolish long-standing rules that protect children from harmful commercialism. In February, Google launched the YouTube Kids app for preschoolers, a supposedly child-friendly version of its popular online video service. But YouTube Kids is no safe haven. Instead, it’s what noted media scholar Dale Kunkel calls, “the most hyper-commercialized media environment for children I have ever seen.” Research shows that young children have trouble... Read more...

Stop Mattel’s "Hello Barbie" Eavesdropping Doll

At February's Toy Fair 2015 in New York City, Mattel unveiled "Hello Barbie," the Wi-Fi-connected doll that uses an embedded microphone to record children's voices—and other nearby conversations. But when Mattel releases the $74.99 toy in late fall, things will get seriously creepy. "Hello Barbie" transmits the recordings over the Internet to cloud servers. Mattel’s technology partner ToyTalk processes the audio with voice-recognition software.[1] Mattel says it will use this information to "... Read more...

School Bus Ad Action Center 2015

The commercialization of our schools could get a lot worse this year.Currently, only Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico allow advertising on the exterior of school buses. But more states are considering overturning their long-standing prohibitions on school bus ads in a misguided attempt to solve their budget deficits. The financial plight of schools is extremely worrisome, but turning school buses into traveling billboards for... Read more...

This Clown Doesn't Belong in Schools

At the McDonald’s 2014 Annual Shareholders Meeting, CEO Don Thompson was questioned by Sally Kuzemchak, a concerned nutritionist and parent, about the company’s notorious targeting of children. Thompson tried to reassure Kuzemchak. “Relative to our marketing, we have been marketing responsibly,” he told her. And then he dropped a bombshell, “We don’t put Ronald out in schools.” It was a remarkable statement from the CEO of the world’s biggest purveyor of fast food. Not only was Thompson... Read more...

Tell the Girl Scouts: Don't Partner with Barbie

Update: As if encouraging girls to wear a branded Barbie patch on their uniforms isn’t bad enough, now Mattel and Girl Scouts USA have escalated their $2 million co-branding partnership by introducing a Barbie Girl Scout Doll—pink capris, high heeled hiking boots and all. For generations, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has been a powerful force for good in the in the lives of girls. Parents trust the Girl Scouts to provide positive role models and foster their daughters’ healthy development... Read more...

Tell LEGO: Don’t Let Shell Pollute Our Kids’ Minds

Update, October 9, 2014: Today, LEGO announced it will not renew its partnership with Shell. It’s a fantastic victory for anyone who cares about children . . . and the wellbeing of our planet. Please click here if you would like to thank LEGO for their decision. For the past two years, Shell and LEGO have partnered on a global advertising campaign that includes co-branded toys, billboards, celebrity endorsements, videos, and a full-size LEGO Formula One car.... Read more...

One Screen for Babies is Bad Enough

As if urging parents to use television or tablets with babies isn’t bad enough, AT&T has partnered with BabyFirst to introduce the first-ever “second screen” experience for infants and toddlers. The new BabyFirstTV U-verse app encourages babies to use an iPad while watching TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two. When there’s no evidence that even one screen benefits babies, marketing a second one is unconscionable. Please tell AT... Read more...

Tell the USDA: Schools should be commercial-free

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed new guidelines that could help limit junk-food marketing in schools. It’s a laudable effort -- but there’s a problem. As written, the USDA's guidelines inadvertently green light the practice of in-school marketing -- the first time any federal agency has done so. The proposed guidelines require local education agencies “to implement policies for the marketing of foods and beverages on the school campus during the school day consistent with... Read more...

Stand up for Massachusetts Students' Privacy

The world of advertising is radically transforming. The prize is no longer our eyes in front of a television, but information about who we are, what we like, and how we’re vulnerable. Our public schools, which collect a wealth of personal information about students, are now particularly alluring targets for corporate marketers. A recent survey by Fordham’s Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) found that 95% of school districts rely on cloud services for a wide array of... Read more...

Support the Do Not Track Kids Act

We have an important opportunity to protect kids and teens from unscrupulous online marketers. Tracking the online movements of children and teens -- and collecting their personal data -- is big business. Companies sell information they collect to advertisers and data brokers to use for targeted advertising. Recently proposed bipartisan legislation will empower parents to protect children against the increasingly sophisticated surveillance used by online marketers. Will you take a minute to... Read more...

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