December 2009

Lets Keep the Pressure on Nick: No Violent, Sexualized Videogames for Young Children; AAFP Pushes Ahead with Coke Sponsorship; New Report Demonstrates Food Industry Self-Regulation Has Failed—Junk Food Still Extensively Marketed to Children; Send in your nominations for CCFC's 2nd Annual TOADY Awards; Recommended Reading on the Web; Support CCFC's Year-End Campaign

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Lets Keep the Pressure on Nick: No Violent, Sexualized Videogames for Young Children

In just a few days, more than 3,000 of you have written to Nickelodeon  to demand that the company stop linking to AddictingGames.com from its websites for children. Addictinggames.com features games such as Sorority Panty RaidBloody Day ("Back alley butchering has never been so much fun. . . . How many kills can you rack?") and the Perry the Sneak series, where gamers take the role of a peeping Tom trying to catch revealing glimpses of scantily clad and naked women.  Currently, Nickelodeon promotes, and links to, Addicting Games on its Nick.com and Nick Jr websites for children as preschoolers. And an alert CCFC member found links on the incredibly popular Neopets.com.

"Nickelodeon's websites for young children should not link to games that celebrate gratuitous violence and the objectification of women," said CCFC's Director Dr. Susan Linn. "Parents who think that their children are safe on Neopets, Nick.com or NickJr.com should know that truly disturbing content is only a click away." If you haven't yet written to Nickelodeon, please take a moment to do so by visiting: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1903..

AAFP Pushes Ahead with Coke Sponsorship

We are disappointed to report that the American Academy of Family Physicians plans to go ahead with their planned partnership with Coca-Cola. Nevertheless, we are heartened by the many AAFP members who contacted us to thank us for our efforts and to let us know that our campaign has helped galvanize opposition to the partnership within the AAFP. They plan to continue protesting this ill-advised partnership. And if you haven't already, you can too by visiting http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1860.

The AAFP plans to introduce the new Coke-sponsored content on its Family Doctor website in mid-January, but there are already reasons to be concerned. According to a "coming soon" announcement-replete with the Coca-Cola logo-on FamilyDoctor.org, (insert link) the sponsored page will include information about "Hydration Education." As CCFC Steering Committee member Michele Simon documents in her book Appetite for Profit, the whole field of "Hydration Education" is a ruse by beverage marketers to sell sports drinks by convincing us that severe dehydration is a major threat to our wellbeing. Unless you're running a marathon, water hydrates just as well - and doesn't contribute to real public health problems like childhood obesity.

New Report Demonstrates Food Industry Self-Regulation Has Failed;
Junk Food Still Extensively Marketed to Children

Two and a half years ago, amid great fanfare, major food companies announced a new era in self-regulation.  They created the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, promising to stop marketing foods of poor nutritional value to children. But last week, a new study released by Children Now conclusively demonstrated that the food industry's self-regulation efforts have failed to significantly improve the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children.  Nearly three out of four (72.5%) of the foods advertised on television to children are for products in the Department of Health and Human Services' poorest nutritional category.

"It's clear that food industry self-regulation has failed," said CCFC's Dr. Susan Linn. "Its only accomplishment has been to forestall meaningful reforms that would improve the health and wellbeing of children. Hopefully this study will serve as a wake-up call for those who held out hope that the food industry would reform its marketing practices on its own."

You can read the report at http://publications.childrennow.org/publications/media/adstudy_2009.htm.

Send in your nominations for CCFC's 2nd Annual TOADY Awards

Has your jaw hit the floor while scanning the toy aisles this holiday season? If so, let us know! We're looking for nominees for CCFC's 2nd annual TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award. On February 13, the Toy Industry Association will gather to present their TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards.  But first, in honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present the dreaded TOADY. So send us your nominees by emailing ccfc<at>commercialfreechildhood.org. The deadline for nominations is January 10, 2010. 

To view last year's nominees and why they were selected, please visit: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/toady.html

Recommended Reading on the Web

One of best articles on the Baby Einstein refunds features CCFC's Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Nancy draws on her vast knowledge of child development to explain why mimicking baby videos isn't the same as learning for infants and offers tips for entertaining and educating young children without a screen. http://commercialfreechildhood.org//news/2009/12/noesinteins.html.

Speaking of CCFC and Baby Einstein: In today's Philadelphia Inquirer, Maxwell King-director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media-calls on Disney to engage in an honest debate about the role of media in children's lives, rather than attacking the messenger. http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20091222_Is_Baby_Einstein_so_smart_.html.

Last month we told you about The Possibility Shop, Disney's first branded online series designed to promote Clorox. Sara Grimes, one of our favorite bloggers, watched the first episode and writes in "The Possibility to Clean and Buy Stuff Shop"  that there are significant reasons for concern:

"First, there's the blatant and clearly over-reaching commercialization, which surely pushes (I would say exceeds) the limits of existing regulations around advertising to kids. But second, and no less disturbing, are the archaic gender discourses that arise from a craft show, most likely targeted to girls and already explicitly targeted to women ("moms"), that is not only sponsored by cleaning products but "commonly" features cleaning as a key theme of the show itself."   Read more . . .

Support CCFC's Year-End Campaign

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding.  Between now and January 1, 2009, all donations of $150 will be matched!  But any amount is appreciated.  To make your tax-deductible donation please visit: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/donate.