January 2016

CCFC and Other Advocates to FCC: Protect Broadband Users’ Data; Student Privacy Twitter Chat; Chevrolet Using Violent Video Game to Sell Kids and Grownups on SUVs; Electronic Toys for Babies Should Be Discouraged, Concludes New Study; Global School Play Day is February 3rd; New Online Community “Beyond the Screens: Technology's Impact on Kids”; Save the Date for Screen-Free Week: May 2-8, 2016; Recommended Reading

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In This Issue:

CCFC and Other Advocates to FCC: Protect Broadband Users’ Data
Last week, CCFC and over fifty consumer protection and privacy groups sent a letter to the FCC urging the Commission to stop broadband companies, such as Verizon and Comcast, from collecting and using users' data without their explicit consent--or for any purpose other than providing broadband Internet service. As Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy explains, phone and cable broadband companies “are connecting our TV sets, for example, to vast databases of information that enable advertisers and programmers to engage in ‘microtargeting’ us commercials, ads, political messages, and other content…[using] sophisticated data tools to target us in milliseconds, regardless of what digital device we use.” We hope the FCC takes swift action to protect broadband users across the country from this invasive tracking and targeting. 

Student Privacy Twitter Chat Tonight at 9PM EST
We’re thrilled to have received a grant from the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to work with the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (PCSP) to create student privacy toolkits. The kits, which will be released in the fall, will help parents and educators advocate for best practices and policies to protect sensitive data from being misused by commercial entities or compromised by data breaches.

To kick off the project, we’ll be hosting a Twitter chat with PCSP tonight at 9PM EST. We’ll be using the hashtag #StudentPrivacy and asking parents and teachers to weigh in: What questions do you have about student privacy? What resources do you need to protect and advocate for student privacy in your community? We’ll use feedback from the Twitter chat to help us design our toolkits. And if you’re not on Twitter or can’t make the chat, don’t worry: There will be plenty of other opportunities to weigh in. 

Chevrolet Using Violent Video Game to Sell Kids and Grownups on SUVs
On the CCFC blog, David Monahan explains why a new ad for the Chevrolet Traverse is so troubling. The ad encourages kids to nag their parents for the SUV so they can ride while playing Plants vs. Zombies, Garden Warfare 2—a game that’s age-inappropriate for many children featured in the commercial. In addition to the cross-promotion of the violent game, the ad boasts the vehicle’s Wi-Fi connectivity for multiple users, encouraging and normalizing car rides where children’s eyes are glued to their own screens, instead of interacting with each other. You can watch the commercial and read David’s critique here

Electronic Toys for Babies Should Be Discouraged, Concludes New Study
Toys that talk, sing, light up, and play music interfere with young children’s learning rather than contribute to it, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The study shows that despite the fact that many electronic toys are marketed as educational for babies, they are detrimental to early language development. The researchers conclude that play with electronic toys should be discouraged, and that parent and infant playtime should center around traditional, battery-free toys and books instead.

Global School Play Day is February 3rd
Next week, over 100,000 students will arrive at school, but they won’t have a traditional day of instruction. Instead, they’ll play! Global School Play Day is an annual event dedicated to celebrating the importance of play in children’s development and education by allowing kids one full day of child-driven, unstructured, screen-free, battery-free playtime. To learn more about GSPD, including how schools in your community can get involved, visit www.globalschoolplayday.com. 

New Online Community “Beyond the Screens: Technology's Impact on Kids” 
Looking to connect with others who are concerned about children’s screen time? Check out the new Google Plus community
Beyond the Screens: Technology’s Impact on Kids. This new group is a space for educators, researchers, advocates, and parents to share the latest research and discuss the impact of screen-based technologies on children’s development. You can see the community’s posts and join here

Save the Date for Screen-Free Week: May 2-8, 2016
Mark your calendar: The annual event where children, families and communities around the country (and world!) unplug for 7 days of screen-free fun is coming up this spring, May 2-8. We’ll be sending more information and inspiration as the week nears, but we hope you’ll plan to join in the celebration!

Recommended Reading: