December 2014

Great Resource to Help Preschoolers Unplug!; A New CCFC Series: Commercial Quandaries for Modern Parents; And the TOADY Goes To . . .; Coalition to FTC: Topps Violated Rules to Protect Children Online; Winter Family Play Plans from TRUCE; Recommended Reading

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In this issue:

Great Resource to Help Preschoolers Unplug!

Want the preschoolers in your life to spend more time playing and less time with screens? CCFC’s great, new handout is for you. Clear, concise, and evidence-based, Healthy Kids in a Digital World: Preschoolers is packed with tips, facts, and screen-free activities. Help kids unplug to connect, play, and learn—visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/unplug to download your free copy. We also have free, pre-printed, tri-folds available for teachers, childcare providers, librarians, and health professionals who want to distribute hard copies to parents (shipping and handling fees apply).

A New CCFC Series: Commercial Quandaries for Modern Parents

We’ve launched a new series to answer your questions about parenting in a commercialized world. In the first edition a parent asks, “We made the mistake of letting Thomas into our almost-four-year-old's life and now he is obsessed. I like the wooden track as it encourages creativity and problem solving (and there are plenty of non-Thomas trains for it) but I cringe daily at the requests for ever more characters and so forth to add to his collection. . . . Is there any undoing this?” Click here to read CCFC’s Executive Director Dr. Susan Linn’s reply. And click here to submit your own commercial quandary. We’ll select a question each month to be answered by CCFC staff and featured on our blog.

And the TOADY Goes To . . .

The campaigning was fierce. Passions ran high. And more than one voter was overheard remarking, “They are all so terrible. How can I choose?” But in the end, one toy stood out as the worst of the worst: the AT&T U-verse app by BabyFirst, the first two-screen experience for babies. With 33% of the vote, the U-verse app bested the Barbie Loves Girl Scout doll (23%) to take home the 2014 TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) Award.

Crystal Brunnelli of Raymond, NH explained why the U-verse app, which encourages babies to use an iPad while watching TV, earned her vote: "This is insidious. It seems creative and interactive, but it's not the kind of creativity and interactivity that developing babies need, and may actually harm their development." Added Laura LeClair of Sunderland, MA, "I've got to go with the 'toy' that's marketed to children ages 0-5. Really? Zero? Newborns should use this 2-screen abomination?" For more on this year’s TOADYs, visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/toady-babyfirst-uverse-app.

Coalition to FTC: Topps Violated Rules to Protect Children Online

CCFC joined the Center for Digital Democracy and 8 other advocacy organizations in filing a Federal Trade Commission complaint against The Topps Company, the maker of Ring Pops, for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The complaint charges Topps did not obtain parental permission before collecting the photos and screen names of children under thirteen and then used the photos on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as part of their #RockThatRock contest. You can read more about this landmark complaint here.

Winter Family Play Plans from TRUCE

Our friends at TRUCE have new additions to their popular Play Plan series, designed to inspire families to play together. Each Play Plan is chalk full of ideas to promote screen-free creative play, even as the temperature plummets outside. So this winter, turn off screens and play with forts, snow, and socks! To download your free guides, please visit http://www.truceteachers.org/guides.htm.

Recommended Reading