CCFC Blog

Jenny and her younger brother in 1965

I am a child of the 60s. I was raised in an activist household – in 1969, the whole family drove through the night to Washington, DC, to attend the largest anti-war demonstration in history. It was a household that not only limited television time to one hour a day, much to the consternation of my brother and I, but where there was also a ban on what my wise parents called “television toys.” Though they themselves were raised in the radio era, my parents were ahead of their time – they are among the first generation of parents who realized the damaging impact television could have on kids. They imparted upon me what I now appreciate as a healthy skepticism about how information is conveyed and consumed. I am a parent of three kids born in...
Last week my youngest son left for college, signaling the end of the most intense phase of child-rearing for me and my wife. This big life transition has led me to reflect a lot lately on my experience as a parent. I think if you asked my sons about what my wife and I were like as parents, they both would almost certainly mention our screen time rules.  When they were very little, my sons watched basically no TV nor played on computers. This wasn’t too hard, since neither tablets nor cell phones were around in the 1990s. Also, my wife and I watched very little TV, and the TV was down in the basement. “Out of sight, out of mind” works remarkably well with little kids.  Around age 2, we began allowing 30 minutes of screen time per day,...
On August 12, 2016, CCFC’s David Monahan joined Kristen Strader and Margrete Strand Rangnes of Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert for a meeting with staff of the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington, DC. They presented the NPS with 213,926 petition signatures from the members of CREDO Action, Commercial Alert, and CCFC, asking the NPS to abandon plans to permit corporate sponsorships and branding in our parks.  The meeting was productive, and CCFC will continue to work with our partners to persuade the NPS to heed the wishes of the people and keep marketing out of our national parks. Thanks to all who have signed the petition, and if you have...
Today, Panera Bread announced a unique commitment to the wellbeing of children: they will not use toys, characters, or other enticements to sell their kids’ meals, and they’re challenging other restaurants to do the same. Their pledge is part of a broader Kids Meal Promise, which aims to reshape the way people think about kids’ food. For us, it’s an important and exciting step toward ending child-targeted marketing. You hear a lot from us when corporations exploit children’s vulnerabilities in order to build brand loyalty, and food marketers are some of the...

CCFC supporter Tanya Palacio sent this photo of Stonyfield yogurt with a Dinotrux ad 

We are constantly reminded of the role our supporters play in opposing exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing. Here is another example. Tanya Palacio, a CCFC supporter from Silver Spring, Maryland, was upset to see Disney and DreamWorks’ characters on the Stonyfield Organic yogurt she purchases for her kids. She shared with us this email she sent to Stonyfield: Our family have been long time customers of your yogurt (and milk). I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old. Your company’s philosophy about making organic healthy food really resonates with me. However, I see that you are now having Disney advertisements on your yogurt. It's disappointing to see a wholesome company succumb to marketing to children. Your product is awesome and...

Jean and her son Scott, who survived into young adulthood sans Pokemon cards

When my son, Scott, was in first grade, he came home completely agitated one day. “Mom!” he pleaded urgently, “Can we get Pokemon cards? Everyone has them!” The following conversation ensued: Me: “No, Scott, we don’t need Pokemon cards. You know we don’t watch the show. All they do is fight.” Scott: “Austin has a Pokemon lunchbox!” Me: “Scott, we are not getting Pokemon cards.”  He screwed up his face and stamped his little 6-year-old foot. End of discussion.  Just kidding. In the following weeks, Scott came home insistent that he would not be accepted into the first grade social scene unless we bought the cards. He obsessively discussed the problem at dinner, implored his older sister to persuade me on his behalf and had frequent replays...
I’m so excited about the real progress we’re making shielding children from invasive advertising. Our ongoing campaign to keep ads off of school buses is just one example.  Several years ago, marketers started pushing state legislators to allow ads on the outside of buses, wowing them with false promises of big money for school districts. Pundits predicted that the plain yellow school bus would soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to your support, that hasn’t happened. From 2011 through this year, states introduced 36 bills that would allow school districts to place ads on...
On May 24, advocacy groups, teachers, parents, and youth gathered at the huge “Rock n Roll” McDonald’s in downtown Chicago to loudly demand: Stop McTeacher’s Nights! The rally was held just two days before the McDonald’s Annual Shareholder meeting and a short drive from the company’s headquarters. The speeches, signs, and protest chants revolved around one theme: McDonald’s should not target kids and capitalize on student-teacher relationships with junk food “fundraisers” that return little to schools. A group of young students from Chicago’s Academy for Global Citizenship gave an inspiring presentation, asking McDonald’s to stay out of schools and stop encouraging unhealthy habits. Thanks to our partners at Corporate Accountability...
From May 2-8, thousands of people across the United States and around the world celebrated Screen-Free Week. Thanks so much to all the SFW organizers who rallied their families, schools, and communities to participate! Screen-Free Week Everywhere From Maine to California, and everywhere in between, organizers planned amazing screen-free events and activities. There was Photography Day at the LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings, MN, a Family Fitness Fair put on by the Department of Health in Charlotte County, FL, sensory play time and other activities at the Brighton District Library in Michigan, a Cinco de Mayo celebration at Maplewood Elementary School in Austin, TX, and a daytime campfire and a cave hike at the Lake Roland...
I remember crossing paths with Thomas the Tank Engine when my son, Ayhan, was about a year old. Our local library had a weekly story and Lego Time, which became a regular Saturday morning outing for my son and me. Ayhan was instantly attracted to the Duplo train set, which happened to take on the persona of a certain blue engine. At first, I kept said train nameless, but many children at Lego Time loved Thomas (and how can you not love a train with a happy big-eyed face?) and many were...

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