CCFC Blog

I was thrilled to attend the National Conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) on April 16 and 17 in Raleigh, North Carolina. NPE shared the Convention Center with a local Comic Con, but even without capes and masks our event had the true superheroes: educators fighting for children and our communities. The theme of this year’s conference: “And Justice for All: Strengthening Public Education for Each Child.” Some groups are canceling events in North Carolina in solidarity with those oppressed by the state legislature’s passage of HB2, which nullified local ordinances protecting the LGBT community. But with the news of HB2 coming so close to this conference, NPE President Diane Ravitch boldly announced: “We are going to North...
This month, I had my students write what I called "Activist Poems". We brainstormed a variety of social issues that affect both adults and children. The list had a variety of topics from smoking to terrorism to homelessness. My contribution to the list was screen time. As I read all of my students' poems, I found that one student, Oula, chose this topic to write about. All of my students' poems were powerful, but I felt this one needed to be shared. Here is a 4th grader's perspective on screen-time:    I am against kids having too much screen time I wonder what makes tech so appealing I hear beeps and blinks from a million iPads I see parents neglecting their kids, telling them to watch TV. I want people to socialize more, face to face,...
If someone offered you a dollar a year to advertise to your child, potentially putting their safety in jeopardy, would you do it? Of course not. Yet that’s what many New Jersey school districts are doing by placing ads on the exterior of their school buses. A familiar yellow school bus sends a message, loud and clear: “precious cargo.” However, New Jersey is one of only nine states where that message can be clouded by another one: “buy this.” In 2011, the Legislature felt compelled to pass a law which permits school bus advertising by the promise of robust returns that would help close school budget gaps. But those returns have not materialized. So isn’t it time for New Jersey lawmakers to repeal this law? With public school budgets...
Nathan DunganFrom better health to better learning to better connections with family and friends, there are so many reasons to celebrate Screen-Free Week. Here’s another: reducing kids’ screen time is the primary way that parents can safeguard children from corporate marketers.  Marketers want 24/7 access to our children so they can sell them things they don’t need. In fact, children are overwhelmed with more than 5,000 advertising impressions per day—many of which are coming at them in rapid succession via the screens in their lives. Buying all that stuff can diminish a child’s...
 The State of Rhode Island House Health Education and Welfare Committee is considering a bill which would prohibit any advertising in schools for food or beverages which do not meet minimum USDA nutrition standards. While CCFC believes schools should be free of all advertising, the bill is an important step towards protecting Rhode Island students from junk food marketing. Below is the testimony which CCFC and Corporate Accountability International have filed in support of this bill.   March 16, 2016 House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare State of Rhode Island General Assembly Testimony of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Corporate Accountability International in favor of...
In the 1950s, Dinah Shore was all over television cheerily singing, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” My, how times have changed. Now, a commercial for the Chevrolet Traverse encourages kids to nag their parents to buy a Chevrolet, so they can ride with their eyes glued to a violent video game—Plants vs. Zombies, Garden Warfare 2—which is age-inappropriate for many of the children in the commercial. There is a lot to hate about this commercial: targeting kids because of their role in “household decision making;” trying to build brand loyalty among tykes not even old enough to ride their bikes in traffic; purporting to portray genuine reactions from a pint-sized focus group, which just happen to include off-camera exclamations from...
Hello Barbie, in a landslide!  The votes are in for the 2015 TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award, and the creepy eavesdropping Hello Barbie blew away the competition with 57% of the vote. The Brands We Know book series was runner-up (14.5%), followed by the Bratz #Selfie Stick with Doll (13.6%), Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster (8.6%), Sky Viper Video Drone (3.8%), and Tube Heroes Collector Pack (2.2%). CCFC member Julie Abraham explained why she voted for the Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie as the year’s worst toy: “This toy has all of the things I most detest: sexism, invasion of privacy, and rampant commercialism. YUCK!” Kaylan Crowther said, “Just when you thought Barbie couldn't...
The York Region District School Board in Ontario, Canada recently turned down a supply of a children’s book provided by TD Bank, because each copy featured prominent bank branding in violation of district policies and procedures which prohibit corporate advertising in school materials. We applaud the Board for enforcing the policy and protecting children from corporate advertising! It’s the policy of the York Region District to “allow for the dissemination of information from non-profit external organizations, which is in alignment with Board priorities and mission, vision and values.” District procedures prohibit distribution of “materials in which logos or messages of political or for-profit organizations appear.” The district...
On the heels of plummeting sales and controversy surrounding the release of Hello Barbie, last week Mattel released a new video seemingly designed to bring the public back to its side. Called “Imagine the Possibilities,” the ad features girls in various adult job situations: one girl is a vet, another is a college soccer coach, a third a professor, a fourth a museum curator. As the girls do their “jobs,” cameras show reactions from onlookers, usually giggling adults who obviously think the girls are precocious and wonderful. In the last moments, a slow fade reveals that the girls have actually just been playing with their Barbies the whole time. The ad is being hailed as “empowering,” “feminist,” and even “perfect.” And I’ll admit: it’s...
Parents are fighting back against the encroachment of corporate advertising into a national youth soccer league: the logo for Fox Sports 1 has crept right onto the front of their children’s jerseys! AYSO, the oldest youth soccer program in the country, has entered into a five-year sponsorship deal with Fox Sports. Thousands of children playing in AYSO programs across the country are now walking, running, and kicking billboards. Their jerseys bear the AYSO crest on the left, and equally conspicuous is the Fox Sports 1 logo on the right. When you visit the AYSO website and see how prominent the Fox logo is in several photos of kids playing soccer, you get the feeling that AYSO has turned them into models in an ad campaign. AYSO’s new uniform...

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