CCFC Blog

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...
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...
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...
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...
The inevitable late summer plague has arrived. No, I’m not talking about mosquitoes, or poison ivy, or humidity. I’m talking about the back-to-school fashion frenzy. The buzz this year is about “interactivity." Shopping is now supposed to be ever so much more than interacting with our wallets. Some stores offer shopping sprees to “haulers,” kids who show off their purchases on YouTube. Others encourage them to play disc jockey on life size MP3 players when they walk in. Even clothes themselves have to be interactive. There’s some brand promoting different shaped stick-on patches so that kids can personalize their garments (“But mom, everyone is personalizing this year. If I don’t personalize, I won’t look like everybody else.”) And then...
Fashion: School Shoppers Giving a Lesson in Individualism – Marketers target children will back-to-school marketing ploys that tout individualism and expression. http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_15816161?nclick_check=1 Aisle by Aisle, an App That Pushes Bargains – A new location-based phone app called Shopkick follows customers around the mall and markets to them by rewarding them with points as they enter stores, move to the cash registers, and even while they’re in the dressing room!  The points can be redeemed for such things as store coupons or to buy virtual goods on Facebook.  In addition to stores like Best Buy and American Eagle Outfitters, Simon Property Group, the prominent mall...
Suit Alleges Disney, Other Top Sites Spied on Users - A lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges that a group of well-known Web sites, including those owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Records, and Demand Media, broke the law by secretly tracking the Web movements of their users, including children. http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20013672-261.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 Would Kids Eat Fruits and Veggies To Get a Free Fast-Food Toy? – Proposed legislation in San Francisco would allow fast food toys only with meals that have better nutritional quality. http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/08/12/would-kids-eat-fruits-and-veggies-to-get-a-free-fast-food-toy/ Do These Jeans...
This past March, soft drink giant PepsiCo announced with much fanfare a new global school policy. The specific guidelines, to take effect by 2012, limit the types of beverages that are to be sold in schools. According to the press release, the policy will "stop sales of full-sugar soft drinks to primary and secondary schools." That's why the announcement last week that Union County High School in Indiana was signing on to a brand new five-year contract with Pepsi (thereby ending its exclusive contract with Coca-Cola) came as a surprise. Not the contract itself, but what one school official had to say about it. From the news article: The new contract is expected to earn the high school and middle  school and booster groups $20,000 more...

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