CCFC Blog

A new study adds heft to the argument that girls are entering puberty earlier than ever before. No one knows why more girls than ever are developing breasts at seven or eight—some scientists attribute it to childhood obesity, others cite environmental factors. Whatever the reason, there’s cause for concern. How do girls so young deal with feelings heightened by hormonal surges, changes in their bodies, and how people think about them in their bodies? What these seven year olds need is support from their families and communities to help them understand and cope with the unsettling changes occurring in their bodies. What they don’t need are anorexic junior dominatrix dolls for girls as young as six. Oops, I mean the Monster High brand (“...
When I was growing up, the Bronx Zoo was just about my favorite place in the world. So it was painful to get this email from a CCFC supporter: In case you haven't heard about this: The Bronx Zoo now has a Dora exhibit. I am devastated. It was, until this, one of the last commercial-free places I could take my kids. Now, all they want to do is see Dora. So sad. The exhibit? A video, of course. Sorry, I mean a multi-sensory experience: Dora, Diego and Boots need your help to protect the animals of the rainforest from Swiper’s out-of-control Robot Butterfly! ¡Vámonos! The Robot Butterfly is swiping the water and plants that the animals need. Join your adventurous amigos on Nickelodeon’s high-speed, eye-popping chase from the tropical...
McDonald’s Violent ‘Happy Meal’ Toy Promotion the Latest Target of Parents, Health Advocates – This piece covers advocacy groups’ actions challenging McDonald’s for its Happy Meal toy marketing, including CCFC’s recent campaign around the company’s violent toy promotions. The author ties these actions to the broader question of whether it’s time for Congress restore the FTC’s authority to regulate advertising aimed at children. http://www.fleshandstone.net/healthandsciencenews/2100.html How Disney Magic and the Corporate Media Shape Youth Identity in the Digital Age – An in-depth article by Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock, this piece looks at the Disney marketing mega-machine and details the sophisticated...
Taking a Bite out of Fast Food – Officials and health experts in Thailand turn to CCFC Steering Committee member Michele Simon’s book Appetite for Profit for guidance in confronting the country’s rising levels of childhood obesity. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/188756/taking-a-bite-out-of-fast-food; Michele Simon blogs about it here: http://appetiteforprofit.blogspot.com/2010/08/bangkok-post-covers-release-of-appetite.html It’s Great to be Ken Toy Story 3 is helping to rehabilitate the popularity (and sales potential) of the Ken doll, which Mattel plans to capitalize on further with a marketing blitz next year as the doll turns 50. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/...
Junk Food Advertising Needs Watershed Ban – After a ban on junk food advertising during children’s programming in the UK has failed to significantly decrease children’s exposure to such ads, health groups call on regulators to implement a ban on all junk food advertising before 9pm.  Child health advocates say this is necessary in order to combat the increasingly clever ways in which marketers target children. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7910946/Junk-food-advertising-needs-watershed-ban.html U Going 2 the Bratz Party? IDK If They're So Popular – MGA Entertainment, after an ongoing court battle with Mattel, regains rights to the scantily clad line of Bratz dolls.  With the win, MGA hopes to...
NERF: Hasbro's Play in the Toy Arms Race – Capitalizing on the amount of time boys spend engaged with violent video games, Hasbro moves toward a more “military style of play” with new line of NERF guns modeled after assault weapons. CCFC’s and TRUCE’s Diane Levin weighs in. http://www.businessweek.com/print/technology/content/jul2010/tc20100726_811886.htm Wired and Tired – Studies show TV watching, video game play, texting and other screen activities are interfering with teens’ sleep, which has negative effects for their well-being.  One doctor looks at the evidence and says, "From a public health standpoint, I look at this and I am scared stiff.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-teen-sleep-...
I admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for television. Hours of childhood make-believe and an entire life’s work were inspired by TV and movies. I become a professional ventriloquist because of television—believe me, I don’t come from a family of people who talk without moving their lips. And I spent untold joyful hours playing about characters I encountered on the screen—Flash Gordon and Peter Pan. As an adult, I had the opportunity to bring my puppets to Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and I shared Fred Rogers’ belief in the potential, and the obligation, of screen media to benefit children. So I can’t escape the irony that I now direct The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an organization in the forefront of a movement to limit...
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were forced to confront the fact that our twenty-month-old daughter knows who Elmo is. And she likes him. For a while, Clara has been saying something that sounded a lot like Elmo. But we convinced ourselves that she was saying “MoMo,” the name of one of her stuffed animals; for parents in denial, toddler enunciation has its benefits. But when my wife dropped Clara off at daycare and she pointed to another child’s box of diapers and enthusiastically announced “Elmo,” we couldn’t fool ourselves any longer. Despite our best efforts, commercial culture has already made a considerable impression on our young daughter. That night, when my wife gently broke the news to me, Clara, who was listening to the...
In this week's Health Blog, the Wall Street Journal's Katherine Hobson asks readers to chime in on a "debate" among family doctors over the ethics of corporate sponsorship of medicine. But first, the backdrop. Last year, the American Academy of Family Physicians announced "a new corporate partnership program" and its first partner was to be The Coca-Cola Company. Soon thereafter, about 20 doctors resigned from the organization in protest, drawing attention to the matter by Food Politics author Marion Nestle as well as advocacy groups such as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The grant amount was described as being in the "strong six figures" by AAFP. Here is how the group described the partnership in its October...
Earlier this year, CCFC was ejected from its home at the Judge Baker Children's Center (JBCC.) Judge Baker’s decision to end its affiliation with CCFC came after representatives from the Walt Disney Company contacted the Center following CCFC’s successful campaign to persuade Disney to offer refunds on its Baby Einstein videos. The story touched a nerve with many of our supporters, including Lisa Ray -- activist, blogger, mother, and founder of Parents for Ethical Marketing: What kind of a country do we live in, I thought at the time, where a multi-billion dollar corporation can encroach upon a tiny advocacy organization and the people who work for it? Is the family friendly Disney so ruthless that it must control public criticism? Who...

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