CCFC Blog

Last Wednesday, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, filed Federal Trade Commission complaints against two leading developers of apps for babies. These complaints are the latest in our ongoing advocacy to stop the false and deceptive advertising of baby media; our prior efforts led Disney to offer Baby Einstein refunds and to a landmark judgment by the FTC against Your Baby Can Read. Consumer protection laws require that companies substantiate any educational or cognitive claims that they make about their products. Both Fisher-Price and Open Solution claim their apps teach babies language and math skills, but cite no research to back up these claims. And there is no credible research that any form of screen media is an effective tool...
I started interning at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood the day before BusRadio shut down. The company, which promised to bring targeted advertising to a whole new level by marketing to children on school buses, was no match for CCFC. The little advocacy group and its tens of thousands of supporters axed the outrageous commercial encroachment on kids’ schooldays. I learned from the very beginning of my time with CCFC what a powerful force for children the organization is. And I soon experienced that speaking up to corporate power has consequences. A short time after the BusRadio success, a front-page story in The New York Times broke the story of CCFC’s triumph persuading the Walt Disney Company to give refunds on bogus...
Turns out The Real Tooth Fairies, LLC really didn’t want you to see their pitch to investors. Fortunately (but admittedly, not as much fun), there’s a transcript! V.O.Can you believe that a childhood character known by millions worldwide has not yet been licensed? Every night, millions of children around the world put a lost tooth under their pillow and wait for the Tooth Fairy to come. GIRL:Yes-s-s! It’s another letter from my Real Tooth Fairy! … Wait a minute. I need to go show my mom. MOM! V.O. What if this moment of real-life magic that kids and parents already buy into could be captured into a Tooth Fairy brand that girls love? PAUL YANOVER: [captioned: Executive VP, Disney Interactive, 1991 – 2011, Took Disney Online to 36...
Last month, I participated in an important panel at a childhood obesity conference to discuss the current strategy backed by some advocacy groups: asking industry to market “healthier” foods to children. But as Susan Linn and I recently argued, any marketing to children is harmful, regardless of the product’s nutritional content. Instead of begging corporations to tweak the grams of sugar, fat and salt that these highly processed junk foods contain, we should demand that industry stop exploiting children altogether. Some advocates argue this approach is too radical. But it’s actually far more practical and ultimately more effective because of certain key tactics that industry uses to target children. You can’t put nutrition...
On June 27, CCFC's Josh Golin testified in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee of Education about inBloom and other threats to students' privacy. For more information about how to stop inBloom in Massachusetts, please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/action/massinbloom Testimony of Josh Golin to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Education Regarding H.331: An Act prohibiting service providers who offer cloud computing services to K-12 educational institutions from processing student data for commercial purposes. My name is Josh Golin and I am the Associate Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. CCFC is a national organization that supports parents’ efforts to raise healthy families...
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...

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