CCFC Blog

My name is Doreen Miller and I’m a parent and an early childhood educator. I am passionate about helping teachers and families create safe, nurturing environments so that young children can develop to their full potential. Children thrive when they have time and space to play, to create, to daydream, and to be nurtured by adults who understand their needs. I am particularly concerned that the explosion of digital devices makes it so much harder for parents to protect their kids from harmful marketing and can undermine their instincts to set limits on screen-time. As Susan Linn recently said on public radio, “No parents in history have ever had to cope with the unprecedented convergence of a ubiquitous, sophisticated, alluring, habit-...
On May 5-11, thousands of people 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 California to New York—and places in between, organizers planned fun screen-free events. There was family fort building in Morton Grove, IL, live music after school in Montpelier, VT, and an evening of family friendly activities including 4-square, kickball, board games, gardening, and dancing in Bismarck, ND. Communities such as Irving, TX, Cambridge, MA, and Muscatine, IA hosted a screen-free event each day of the week. Internationally, students in Brazil celebrated “Semana Sem Telas”; events were...
As a first-time Screen-Free Week celebrant (yes, it’s true), I have a host of anxieties about it. I admit I use screens all day long—for work and for fun. I play mobile games, watch TV, and surf the web daily. But I think that it’ll be hardest for me to give up searching for music. I’m obsessed with discovering new bands and songs and I do it all on a screen. Will I be able to go the whole week just listening to music already in my collection? I know, though, that I’m not alone—many others report that the anticipation of detoxing from digital culture can be nerve-racking. Common concerns include combating boredom, not being able to rely on screens to keep children occupied, having to think up enough screen-free activities to fill the days...
Today, CCFC and  Corporate Accountability International  submitted the following comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its proposal to require schools to only allow marketing for those foods allowed under the agency’s “Smart Snacks” nutrition guidelines. (See also the excellent comments submitted by Public Health Advocacy Institute on junk food products created for schools.) April 25, 2014 Julie Brewer, Chief, School Programs Branch Policy and Program Development Division Child Nutrition Programs, Food and Nutrition Service United States Department of Agriculture Re: RIN 0584–AE25 Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Dear Ms. Brewer: We are submitting these...
Update: As of April 21, 2014 inBloom announced it will be officially closing its doors. This week, New York State ended its relationship with inBloom, a Gates Foundation initiative to help corporations profit from students' most sensitive and confidential information. inBloom planned to electronically share students' data -- including names, home  and email addresses, test scores, racial identity, economic and special education status, and even detailed disciplinary and health records -- with for-profit corporations, without any guarantee that the information would be safeguarded. Thanks to widespread parent protests, each of the nine states originally committed to participate in this controversial project have either...
Nearly 5,000 people have already signed our petition urging the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to end their partnership with Barbie. We’re particularly heartened by the tremendous response from Troop Leaders and parents of Scouts, who are dismayed that GSUSA would accept $2 million from Mattel to promote a brand so antithetical to its vital mission to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character.” Below, Girl Scout Troop Leaders speak out against the Barbie partnership.     A hyper-sexualized doll with an unnaturally proportioned woman's body has no place associating with Girl Scouts. Girl Scout leadership sold out -- not just the Girl Scout brand -- but the community that it is designed to serve; girls and young women. It is so...
Dimitri Christakis, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations to discourage screen time for children under two, has changed his position. He did so, despite the acknowledged lack of supporting research, based on what he frankly identifies as a "hunch" associated with development of the iPad. In an opinion piece for Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics the noted pediatrician says he now believes parents can allow up to an hour of daily "interactive" screen time for children under two. Christakis conjectures that interactive screen time has benefits similar to playing with blocks, known to promote literacy. Unfortunately for babies, his hunch has been trumpeted as news by NBC's ...
Last summer, CCFC filed a Federal Trade Commission Complaint against Fisher Price for the false and deceptive marketing of its Laugh and Learn apps for babies as young as six months. Among other claims, the apps are advertised as teaching babies “letters A-Z “ and “counting 1-10.” Today, we submitted an important letter to the FTC summarizing the evidence-based opinions of 6 independent, world-renowned experts on infant learning and development who agree that such claims are deceptive. They unequivocally conclude that babies are not capable of learning numbers and letters.  In fact, their conclusions have even broader implications, as they call into question the deceptive nature of marketing any product as teaching babies these concepts...
It may seem like winter will never end, but Screen-Free Week is just around the corner—May 5th -11th. There are so many great ways to celebrate SFW and this year we’re making it easier with our new and improved website. Want to join in? Find essential handouts like pledge cards, permission slips, activity logs, flyers, and more at screenfree.org! Take the pledge! Commit to going screen-free for a week. Organize! Whether you want to organize the week for your family, school, place of worship, library, or whole community, download our free 2014 Organizer’s Kit to get started today. Plan events! Check out some of our favorite past activities to get inspiration for your own celebration. If you’ve never celebrated before, here’s why we hope...
$290,000. That’s a ton of money for a small nonprofit like CCFC—more than 90% of our 2013 budget. So when we were selected to receive that amount as part of the settlement of a class action lawsuit, we were thrilled. CCFC was one of thirteen nonprofit organizations chosen to receive a cy pres award as part of the settlement of the Fraley v. Facebook lawsuit. Among other issues, the lawsuit addressed Facebook’s use of teenagers’ names and images in advertisements without permission from parents. We knew that all settlements are compromises, but we initially believed this one would help protect teens on Facebook. But after reading objections from other advocacy groups we began to have doubts. So we consulted an...

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