December 2012

FTC Announces Important Privacy Safeguards for Children; CCFC's 8th Consuming Kids Summit: Boston, March 21-23; Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey Takes the TOADY; CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Holidays; Susan Linn Honored by CEASE; Recommended Reading; Support CCFC's Year-End Campaign

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In this issue:

FTC Announces Important Privacy Safeguards for Children

Yesterday, for the first time in over a decade, the Federal Trade Commission announced much needed updates to the rules that protect children’s privacy online. The new rules are an important victory for children and families, and the growing coalition to protect children from exploitative digital marketing. 

The FTC’s action means that kids’ apps and websites will not be able to engage in “behavioral marketing” by using cookies, IP addresses, or mobile device IDs to track children’s online activities without parental consent. Companies now must also obtain parental consent to collect and use a child’s photos, videos, and geo-location.

We are pleased that the FTC resisted significant industry pressure to water down these changes and we are grateful to CCFC members who signed our petition urging the Commission to hold firm. We look forward to working with other advocates for children’s privacy, such as our friends at the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media who spearheaded the push for these new rules, to ensure that the FTC is rigorous in enforcing them.

CCFC’s 8th Consuming Kids Summit: Boston, March 21-23

Excitement is building for CCFC’s 8th international Consuming Kids Summit: Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers. Here are some important information and deadlines:

  • Early bird registration ends January 31, 2013.  Register today and save $45!
  • The deadline for scholarship applications has been extended until January 4. To apply, click here.
  • New presenters are added regularly.  Check out the fantastic lineup here.
  • We are currently looking into child care options for the summit. If you are interested in attending and would like child care, please let us know by emailing

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey Takes the TOADY

With 33% of the vote, the stuffy with an iPhone in its belly squeaked past runner-up Lego Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop (30%) to win the 2012 TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children) Award. TheO ball (21%), the 7-11 Slurpee Maker (10%), and the Put Me In The Story app (7%) were the other contenders.

The Apptivity Monkey succeeds the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet as the reigning TOADY winner, illustrating mounting concerns about the push to get very young children to use screen media. CCFC member Anna Martin voted for the Apptivity Monkey, “because it is in clear violation of pediatrician and professional recommendations to keep babies and toddlers under 2 away from any screens at all.” She added, “It's more like the Capptivity Monkey.” Noted Jennifer Long, owner of a child care center, “It’s bad enough that most toys for babies are battery operated and flashy/light-up, but now they are encouraging screen time as part of a toy. I'm sad for the sweet little babies that get an Apptivity Monkey this holiday and for the unknowing parents that buy it thinking it's good for their baby.” 

Click here to read about the other nominees. Click here to see why CCFC members voted the way they did.

CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Holidays

Frazzled? Cranky? Anxious? Overspent? Looking for a respite from the commercialism of the season? Then download your free copy of CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Holidays! It’s packed with practical tips for making the holidays less materialistic and more meaningful. Contributors include Enola Aird, Lyn Mikel Brown, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Nathan Dungan, Nancy Gruver, Allen Kanner, Tim Kasser, Joe Kelly, Annie Leonard, Diane Levin, Karen Lewis and Susan Linn.

Susan Linn Honored by CEASE

CCFC Director Susan Linn and her puppet Audrey Duck were honored by Concerned Educators Allied for a Safe Environment with its 2012 Peace Award. The award is given each year at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference to honor those who make a particular commitment to the wellbeing of children in a dangerous world. Susan and Audrey were honored because:

Together you have used your skills as child psychologist and ventriloquist to help children heal. Your voices have entertained and educated, joining Fred Rogers in his Neighborhood for many years. With strength and determination you have become a successful leader in the struggle to protect children from the excesses of commercial culture. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood leads the way in pressuring corporations and government agencies to limit the worst of marketing to children. As a writer, a leader, and a force for change you inspire us all.

Recommended Reading

CCFC’s co-founder and media violence expert Diane Levin offers tips for talking to young children about the horrific Newtown shootings.

CCFC’s Susan Linn responds to the question, “How and when should children learn to be consumers?” in the New York Times.

In our blog, CCFC member and 4th grade teacher Mark N. describes his first experience standing up to marketers that target children.

And in the Washington Post, pediatricians and other experts weigh in on whether babies need iPads. (Hint: The answer starts with “N”)

Support CCFC's Year-End Campaign

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding. All donations of $150 or more between now and December 31 will be matched, but any amount is appreciated and needed. To make your tax-deductible donation, please click here.