CCFC Blog

The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee recently asked her a few questions about her background and how she got involved in her chosen field. You are the co-founder and director of the coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. What led you to enter this field of study and advocacy and why do you think it is important? Susan Linn I’m a psychologist by training, but I began my professional life as a ventriloquist, using my puppets to entertain children (for instance, I worked with Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers Neighborhood). Eventually I began using puppets to help children talk about feelings and cope with difficult issues. I care passionately about creative play— the foundation of learning, creativity...
In response to the public outcry over the negative impacts of junk food marketing to children, food companies have started using popular media characters to market “healthy” foods to children. These products include fruits and vegetables, as well as processed food. So we now have Campbell’s Disney Princess “Healthy Kids” soup, Kellogg’s Scooby-Doo! cereal (with less sugar), and others. But is this really progress? The developmental vulnerabilities of children, along with the legal, ethical, and political pitfalls of encouraging the food industry to target kids, make marketing food to children harmful regardless of nutritional content. Children are Especially Vulnerable to Advertising Researchers and advocates for children’...
I am a father who passionately cares about the health and well-being of my child, and of all children. As the Associate Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), I work to protect kids from predatory corporate marketers. I know all too well how corporations undermine parents' efforts to raise healthy children. The good news is that together, parents and advocates around the world are coming together to expose and end kid-targeted marketing. Children's minds are still developing, making them particularly vulnerable to marketing techniques. Research demonstrates that children under the age of nine don’t understand advertising's persuasive intent. That's why I'm deeply troubled by the proliferation of new digital...
"The branding of our children begins at conception." -- Anai RhoadsWhen you have children, nothing is more disheartening than turning on your television and seeing one advert after another luring them into a sea of pink or blue. These commercials transparently target genders, and all the while offer inappropriate toys and games. Companies hone in on kids because they are the most naive and vulnerable - and the loudest consumer there is. As much as they are activists pleading their case to their parents, they are unable to recognise they are being used for profit. Essentially, the most marketed to, are children. As a parent myself, I have had to be the referee between the onslaught of plastics and gadgets being peddled to our...
My kids go to a great school, and they have great teachers. I want to say that first.  I don't doubt the vigilance or intelligence of their teachers, or whether they're being educated to a high standard.  I know they are.  But sometimes things slip through the cracks, and when they do, I feel obligated to speak out. So when my kindergartener brought home a school-published "My Counting and Number Writing Book" last week, I was really shocked to find this advertisement included in the middle of a stapled workbook of sheets from various sources - an otherwise innocuous and adorable collection of pages asking them to count the pennies, stars, animals, etc.  How McDonald's managed to pass off this shameless advertisement as a "lesson," and how...
On April 29-May 5, people around the country celebrated Screen-Free Week. Children, families, schools, libraries, church groups, community centers, bookstores (and many more!) joined in the fun. Here are some of the highlights: Screen-Free Week Everywhere! Going screen-free is most fun when we do it together. That’s why thousands of volunteers signed up to be Screen-Free Week Organizers and planned events from Alaska to Florida and places in between. There was a pajama story time in Hodgkins, IL, a cookout and family day in Copake Falls, NY, and a carnival in Portland, OR. Missoula, MT, Cambridge, MA, and Spring Garden Township, PA were among the communities that hosted a screen-free event each day of the week. For the...
We asked Screen-Free Week 2013 participants for their favorite moments and insights. Here are some of our favorite responses. Add your favorite moment in the comments section! "I saw my 9-year-old daughter laying on the floor, just day dreaming. I immediately thought, 'Oh no, she is bored, maybe she could'...then I stopped myself and just let her lay there...She wasn't bored, just deep in thought. We don't always have to be doing something!" –Kim G., Ivins, UT “We never got bored...we read a lot of books...the kids' imaginations went wild with free play.” –Sarah R., St. Paul, MN...
Worried about how to pass the time without TV, computers, or video games? Never fear! We have compiled a list of fun and creative ideas for screen-free fun all year-round. Turn off screens, turn on life and enjoy learning and creating with your family. Outdoor Activities Go on a bug hunt.Go for a hike.Create a crayon melt with your broken crayons.Have a treasure hunt.Create a nature mobile.Make an outdoor fairy dwelling.Visit a creek and find some aquatic critters.Fly a kite."Investigate" the yard with a magnifying glass.Plant a garden.Have a toy car wash.Go on a bike ride.Play hopscotch.Make a nature collage.Have a lemonade stand.Make a homemade slip 'n' slide.Learn how to roller-skate.Go on a picnic.Build a sand castle at the beach....
Hi, I’m Koa Halpern. I am 15 years old, and I started my own nonprofit when I was 10. My nonprofit is called Fast Food Free, and its goal is to get people to eat less fast food through education and community awareness, which results in healthier people and a better world. In the United States, kids spend tons of time watching television; many kids watch TV over 4 hours every day. Much of this time is spent watching commercials. Fast food products are mainly advertised through TV. Food products and fast food commercials are shown more than any other type of advertisement. If kids reduce the time they are watching tv, they see less commercials. Less commercials leads to a reduction in fast food, resulting in healthier kids.  Additionally,...
I don’t have a TV. There. I said it. I can picture your face, blank stare, uncomprehending.  I’ve seen it hundreds of times. And then I have to launch into explanations. No, no television anywhere in my house. No, I’m not Amish. No, my parents aren’t hippies or Quakers or Nazis. Yes, I know what a TV is. And on and on and on. But the real explanation is not even really an explanation. I simply don’t have one, never have, maybe never will. I just looked it up—99% of Americans own at least one television set. Along with this statistic I found several articles, all speculating about the true nature of those radical enough to go TV-less, one even going as far to say that TV occupies a spot among food and shelter as one of the basic necessities...

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