February 2011

Disney, Our365, and Maternity Ward Marketing: Let’s Keep the Pressure On; Screen-Free Week: Join the Grassroots Movement to Reduce Screen Time; Endorsements for Screen-Free Week are Pouring In!; Celebrate Screen-Free Week in Style; Recommended Listening: CCFC’s Susan Linn on the Diane Rehm Show; Shape Up, Scholastic!; Upcoming Events: The ACME National Summit – April 7 in Boston; Support CCFC

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Disney, Our365, and Maternity Ward Marketing: Let’s Keep the Pressure On

Earlier this month, we told you how The Walt Disney Company was promoting its new Disney Baby line in maternity wards around the country.  Thanks to all of you who responded by writing to Disney and urging the company to leave newborns—and their moms—alone.  If you haven’t yet done so, you can email Disney by clicking here.

But the problem runs deeper than Disney.  Hospitals across the country are selling out their youngest patients and their parents by partnering with marketers who pitch products directly to, and collect personal information from, new mothers.  One of the primary marketing companies is Our365, which pays hospitals for the exclusive right to sell newborn portraits in hospitals—and then sells that privileged access to corporations like Disney, Fisher Price and Proctor & Gamble.  That’s why CCFC members around the country are calling their local hospitals and urging them to give maternity ward marketers the boot.  Click here to tell hospitals that the first special moments of a baby’s life should be 100% commercial-free!

Screen-Free Week: Join the Grassroots Movement to Reduce Screen Time

We’re so excited about Screen-Free Week 2011.  Reducing children’s screen time is central to CCFC’s mission of helping parents raise healthy families by limiting corporate marketers' access to children.  And we know that children today spend way too much time with screens—at the expense of essential life experiences like active and creative play, reading, and connecting with nature.

Anyone can join in Screen-Free Week by simply refraining from using screens for entertainment during the week of April 18-24, 2011.  But experience tells us that it’s more fun—and more effective—to go Screen-Freewith others.  Already, parents, educators, and healthcare professionals around the country have signed up to organize Screen-Free Weeks in their schools and communities from Maine to Alaska to Guam.

Organizing is fun and easy.  And to make it even easier, we’ve created a brand new Organizer’s Kit to walk you through the process; it includes all the suggestions, activities and handouts you’ll need—as well as 2 beautiful posters perfect for promoting the week.  Click here to purchase your Organizer’s Kit and get started on your own Screen-Free Week today!  By purchasing official Screen-Free Week materials you are supporting CCFC’s important work carving out screen-free, commercial-free space for children.

Endorsements for Screen-Free Week are Pouring In!

At its heart, Screen-Free Week is a collaboration.  Which is why we’re so excited that more than 40 organizations—including the American Public Health Association, the National Head Start Association, KaBOOM!, and the US Play Coalition—have already signed on as official endorsers of Screen-Free Week.  To view the complete list of organizational endorsers, please click here.  (And if your organization would like to endorse Screen-Free Week, please email us.)

Celebrate Screen-Free Week in Style

Show the world you're going Screen-Free with official Screen-Free Week 2011 t-shirts.  These 100% organic cotton shirts are a great way to promote your week and also make wonderful prizes for Screen-Free Week games and activities.  Order by February 28 and get free shipping!

Recommended Listening: CCFC’s Susan Linn on the Diane Rehm Show 

CCFC’s director, Dr. Susan Linn, was recently a guest on National Public Radio’s the Diane Rehm Show.  The show was an interesting and lively conversation about how commercialism in schools undermines children’s wellbeing and education, and why CCFC advocates for commercial-free schools.  Please click here to listen.

Shape Up, Scholastic!

We’ve received more complaints about Scholastic than any other company.  That’s why we’ve created our Shape Up, Scholastic! page.  That’s where you can register your complaints directly with the company (and we’ll get a copy, too, so we can follow up on your concerns).

This month’s Scholastic spotlight: The Firefly preschool book club.  Offerings include such branded gems as Barbie: A Fashion Fairy Tale, rife with gender stereotypes; the Nickelodeon-touting SpongeBob SquarePants Crash Course sticker book; and Star Wars: Villains!, which promotes PG-13 movies.  If you think the company should be promoting books, not brands, in its book clubs for pre-k children, let Scholastic know!

Upcoming Events: The ACME National Summit – April 7 in Boston

Join CCFC’s Susan Linn, Jean Kilbourne, Michael Rich, Lyn Mikel Brown, Robert McChesney and more for the Action Coalition for Media Education’s 5th annual summit.  This fabulous one-day conference precedes the National Conference for Media Reform.  If you are a media educator, a public advocate, or media activist, you will not want to miss this important event.  To learn more, watch the conference trailer, or register, please visit http://www.acmecoalition.org/.

Support CCFC

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding. To make your tax-deductible donation please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/donate.