February 2013

Just 3 Weeks Until the Consuming Kids Summit; One More Reason to Come to Boston: ACME Media Literacy Training, March 21; Take Action: Stop the Marketing of Violence to Young Children; Standing Up For Children’s Privacy; In the News: Spotlight on Media Violence; Save the Date! Screen-Free Week is April 29-May 5; More Recommended Reading and Viewing; Support CCFC

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In this issue:

Just 3 Weeks Until the Consuming Kids Summit

Excitement is building for CCFC’s 8th Consuming Kids Summit. The schedule has been posted at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/event/summit2013. And we’ve added two great new keynote speakers: Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids and star of the show World’s Worst Mom, and Dr. Michael Rich of the Center on Media and Child Health. Parents, educators, healthcare professionals and advocates like you are finalizing plans to come to Boston on March 21-23 to meet and learn from today’s leading scholars, activists, and researchers—including Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Diane Levin, Susan Linn, Tim Kasser, Josh Golin, Michele Simon, Melissa Wardy, Angela Campbell, Mike Lanza, Makani Themba, Alex Bogusky and many, many more. If you want to know what to do about escalating commercialism in the lives of children, this is the place to be!  

Still not signed up? Time is running out. Visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org/event/summit2013 to register today!

One More Reason to Come to Boston: ACME Media Literacy Training, March 21

On Thursday, March 21, the Action Coalition for Media Education will host a pre-summit media literacy training. Featuring Bob McCannon, Adam Kenner, Sheryl Baker, Ben Boyington, and Media Power Youth's Rona Zlokower and Sarah Shanahan, the training will emphasize curricular techniques that will benefit teachers, parents, caregivers, health workers, and others concerned with reversing the effects of our children's media culture. The training—which includes sessions on Media Power Youth's highly evaluated curricula, tips and techniques for teaching media education, and evaluating and avoiding the dangers of social media—will culminate in the opening reception of CCFC’s summit with Lenore Skenazy. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.acmecoalition.org/.

Take Action: Stop the Marketing of Violence to Young Children

The tragic shootings in Newtown have shined a spotlight on video game violence, but violent media is marketed to children long before they encounter Call of Duty. Since 2008, thousands of parents and the staff of the Federal Trade Commission have joined CCFC in calling for the Motion Picture Association of America to stop companies from marketing violent PG-13 movies to preschoolers. To date the MPAA has refused to act, even though young children are targeted with thousands of ads each year for violent movies like Avengers and Battleship. We're pleased that MPAA chairman (and former senator) Chris Dodd is now saying Hollywood is ready to take part in the national dialogue about violence. But we need more than words. Please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12318 and tell the MPAA to stop the marketing of violence to young children.

Standing Up For Children’s Privacy

CCFC and other advocates for privacy, children, and education are demanding that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reconsider a controversial plan to share confidential student data with the Gates Foundation’s Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC). The Gates Foundation is building a national “data store” of personally identifiable information including student names, test scores, grades, disciplinary and attendance records, and most likely, special education needs, economic status, and racial identity as well. CCFC, along with the ACLU of Massachusetts, Citizens for Public Schools (CPS), and the Massachusetts PTA, sent a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education urging the Board to make public its contract with the SLC, require parental consent before any data is shared with the Gates Foundation, and pledge that data will never be used for commercial purposes. You can read our letter here: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/mass_bese_letter.pdf

In the News: Spotlight on Media Violence

In the New York Times, CCFC’s Susan Linn argued that marketing media violence to young children is a very real public health issue. Read Susan’s original letter, as well as her answer to readers’ responses in the TimesSunday Dialogue.

And on National Public Radio’s Here and Now, CCFC Steering Committee member—and summit presenter—Nancy Carlsson-Paige argues that the aggressive marketing of violent movies and video games to children is undermining their play and development. You can listen to the show at http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/02/21/video-games-guns.

Save the Date! Screen-Free Week is April 29-May 5

Mark your calendar. Screen-Free Week is only two months away. Next week, CCFC will release new resources to help you plan your best Screen-Free events and celebrations yet. And if you can’t wait until April 29, here are two great events to whet your screen-free whistle: The National Day of Unplugging starts at sundown tomorrow, March 1. For more information and to pledge to unplug, visit http://nationaldayofunplugging.com/. And on Sunday, March 3, the Alliance for Early Childhood begins its annual ScreenBreak Week. You can learn more here: http://www.theallianceforec.org

More Recommended Reading and Viewing

  • A new report by CCFC Steering Committee member and summit presenter Michele Simon examines how Big Food corporate sponsorships are undermining the integrity of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nation’s largest trade group of nutrition professionals.
  • The New York Times takes a fascinating look at how Big Food has expanded the market for salty snacks and sugary drinks—including to children—and what happened to a Coca-Cola executive when he encouraged the company to stop marketing in schools.

Support CCFC

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