CCFC Blog

Huzzah to the San Diego Board of Education! San Diego school board members were once intrigued by the thought of allowing ads on campus to help soften the blow of budget cuts, but they turned uncomfortable once they learned more. The board voted 4-1 Tuesday to reject a plan to allow ads in hallways, cafeterias, libraries and other places on school campuses. Nine months ago, the same board directed staff to research the idea. It is hard to overstate what a courageous decision this is. San Diego schools, like so many in these difficult times, desperately need money; officials estimate the district is facing a deficit of between $141 million and $160 million next year. But rather than succumb to slick sales pitches from companies eager to...
An article in the Sacramento Bee last week raised concerns about the role of British Petroleum scientists in shaping a statewide k-12 science curriculum. BP representatives were among many experts called in to shape what and how science would be taught to California students. Having caused the worst human-made ecological disaster ever, BP certainly deserves to be the current poster child for corporate greed and corruption. But the company’s participation on a large committee shaping science curriculum is only a tiny piece of the giant problem of corporate influences on what children learn in school. For one thing, other industry representatives with a clear financial stake in how and what children learn about fossil fuels and non-renewable...
I am not a fan of any sort of  "awareness" month as I find the concept trivializes important health issues. Are we only supposed to care about heart disease, diabetes, etc, during that one month of the year? And I never see anything of substance come from the month-long activities, just the usual ineffective educational campaigns, instead of meaningful public policy reforms. Plus many issues tend to crowd themselves into certain months of the year, so it all just becomes noise.  September is one such month. Among other causes, September has been proclaimed "Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" by Congress and President Obama. When I first heard about about it, I though, oh god, please no ribbons or walks. Thankfully, no signs of either, yet...
Earlier this week, I wrote about my concerns regarding First Day, the new online Kmart infomercial webisode for tweens and teens from Alloy Media and Marketing. Well, the first episode is up and it’s even worse than I predicted. (The second episode is up too, but there’s a limit to my masochism). The takeaway? Pick your outfits carefully for the first day of school because: First day of school determines who you’re gonna be friends with, which determines if a guy is gonna like you which determines if you’ll ever be kissed, because after awhile you build it up and you get all nervous, until you’re 25 and totally unkissable. Pretty subtle message for a program developed by Kmart to promote its back-to-school clothes. The show is...
U.S. Pediatricians Decry Media's Portrayal of Sex – A new study published in Pediatrics shows that the messages media teach teens and children about sex are dangerous.  "’We want physicians to ask two media questions at every well-child visit: how much entertainment screen time per day does the child engage in, and is there a TV set or Internet connection in his or her bedroom,’ said Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. ‘That takes 20 seconds and may be more important than asking about childproofing or car seats or bicycle helmets.’”  The article shows that media are a powerful sex educator, and with children spending more time with media than in any other activity but...
Later today, Alloy Media + Marketing, will launch First Day, its latest web series for children and teens on the Internet channel AlloyTV. An Alloy press release suggests the show will have it all – if by all you mean the full gamut of troubling trends in youth marketing. Because First Day will air on the web instead of a traditional television channel, the FCC’s rules that dictate strict separation of commercial content and programming matter do not apply. That means that, unlike children’s television shows, First Day can feature product placement. That’s where Kmart comes in. Not only will the characters wear Kmart’s back-to-school fashions (Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez, Rebecca Bonbon and Bongo), but Kmart actually helped create the...
I recently blogged about questions regarding how PepsiCo's voluntary beverage guidelines, announced in March, would be implemented in schools given that contracts are made at the local level. Now with back-to-school in full swing, I have even more questions about how PepsiCo may be using stealth marketing techniques to gain access to that coveted captive K-12 audience. Today, the company announced a new program it calls Score for Your School. From the press release: PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America business unit kicks-off high school  football season with the "Score for Your School" program for Texans  only that invites fans to help schools win up to a $10,000 donation for  their sports programs. Beginning today, Texas fans can visit...
A Source of Solace, Not Ad Revenue – This Miami Herald article, quoting CCFC's Susan Linn, criticizes a proposal in Miami to allow advertising in public parks.  The author concludes, “To accommodate a plethora of commercial imagery in county parks is to fill them with visual pollution. The premise of the commercial culture is that buying things will make us happier. But no purchase is enough to achieve happiness. Instead, an encounter with nature—without an assault by this culture of consumerism—offers life's best gift.” http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/28/1796085/a-source-of-solace-not-ad-revenue.html Kids in Their Sights – Canada’s Financial Post details the global political struggle...
Digital Diversions Leave Teens, Parents Sleep-Deprived – New study shows that 80% of adolescents don’t get enough sleep, even though 90% of parents think they do. The study finds that “digital diversions,” like cell phones, are major factors of the sleep deprivation, which is supported by the finding that 4 out of 5 teens sleep with their mobile phones and wake up to respond to text messages. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/23/AR2010082305482.html Princess Culture Turning Girls Into Overspending Narcissists – A commercial culture that tells girls they can be Disney princesses by purchasing products gives way to narcissistic adults and loads of credit card debt, say researchers...
According to newspaper reports, researchers are exploring links between a girlhood characterized by “princess culture,” and womanhood fraught with narcissism, materialism, and overspending. No adult behavior can be explained solely by one thing—human beings are complicated creatures. But these researchers are on to something. We pass cultural values on through the stories we tell and the toys we give to children. The messages they take away from what they see, hear, and experience contribute to their understanding of the world and how it works. Much has been written about the negative impact of impossibly built fashion dolls on how girls conceptualize beauty, and how they feel about their bodies. For many parents, the Disney Princesses...

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