March 2012

Only One Month Until Screen-Free Week: April 30 – May 6; Reducing Children’s Screen Time: Organizational Policy and Practice Change; School Bus Ads: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; NAEYC’s Position Statement on Technology and Young Children; Protect Kids’ Privacy; Recommended Reading and Listening; Support CCFC

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In this issue:

  • Only One Month Until Screen-Free Week: April 30 – May 6
  • Reducing Children’s Screen Time: Organizational Policy and Practice Change
  • School Bus Ads: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • NAEYC’s Position Statement on Technology and Young Children
  • Protect Kids’ Privacy
  • Recommended Reading and Listening
  • Support CCFC

Only One Month Until Screen-Free Week: April 30 – May 6 

It’s just one month until Screen-Free Week!  From April 30 – May 6, children, families, schools, libraries, and entire communities will turn off screen-based entertainment and play, daydream, create, read, explore nature, and spend more time with family and friends.  Screen-Free Week is endorsed by dozens of organizations including the National Black Child Development Institute, the National Head Start Association, KaBOOM!, and the US Play Coalition.  And from Long Island to Screen-Free Kansas City, exciting weeks and events are being planned all over the country.

Here are all the resources you need for a great week:

  • Our free Screen-Free Week Organizer’s Kit is jam-packed with planning tips, activities, handouts, and more. Best of all, it’s free.  Click here to download it today.
  • Publicize your week and any events on our Screen-Free Week map! Whether you have a Screen-Free Week event that's open to the public or just want to tell the world you're going screen-free, click here.  And to find an event near you, click here.
  • Discuss your plans and get tips from other organizers at our Screen-Free Week Facebook Page.

Reducing Children’s Screen Time: Organizational Policy and Practice Change

 

With a grant from Kaiser Permanente Community Initiatives, we are hard at work developing a 3-year strategic plan to help major organizations whose work affects young children include screen-time reduction in their organizational agendas.  On March 20 and 21, we invited representatives of national professional, advocacy, and research organization to meet with us in Boston to help with the plan’s development. It’s a testimony to growing concerns about screen time that we were joined by executive directors and senior representatives from the National WIC Association, the National Head Start Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, Voices for America’s Children, and the National Council of La Raza for a very productive strategy session.  We’ll keep you posted on our progress, and we look forward to working with these organizations—and others—to help parents find alternatives to screens.

 

School Bus Ads: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Great news from Florida, where a bill to allow school bus ads that was widely expected to pass did not make it out of committee in the Senate.  Congratulations to the hundreds of Florida CCFC members who contacted their legislators to voice their opposition. Unfortunately, five states are still considering bills that transform school buses into traveling billboards.  So if you live in CA, KY, MO, NY, or RI, please visit our School Bus Ad Action Center to find out the status of your state’s bill and to take action.

And if you need any more evidence that school bus ads are a bad idea, consider the case of Bowie County, Texas. School officials there just signed a deal to advertise with a local franchise, Chicken Express. In return for exposing their students to fast food ads, the district hopes to earn $40,000 a year—which amounts to only 1% of its annual transportation budget.  

NAEYC’s Position Statement on Technology and Young Children

The National Association for the Education of Young Children has released a new Position Statement on Technology and Young Children.  Over the last two years, CCFC has urged NAEYC to join the American Academy of Pediatrics and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity in taking a strong stand for limiting screen time in the lives of young children—both in and out of childcare settings. We organized two public letters to NAEYC—signed by 70 leading early childhood educators, pediatricians, and child development experts—and hundreds of our members who work with young children weighed in as well.

We’re pleased that all of our efforts made a difference. For example, NAEYC added recommendations to the statement about prohibiting passive screen media for children under two in childcare centers and limiting it for older children.  At the same time, the statement is troubling.  Among other problems, its enthusiasm for using technology with preschoolers combined with its omission of specific recommendations for time limits could actually increase the amount of time young children are spending with screens.

CCFC is crafting a detailed response to the statement, and we’d like to hear from you.  Email ccfc@commercialfreechildhood.org to let us know your thoughts about NAEYC’s position statement.  Does it meet your expectations?  Are there sections that you find particularly helpful or troubling?  What guidance or guidelines do you feel early childhood educators and caregivers need?

Protect Kids’ Privacy 

CCFC strongly supports the Do Not Track Kids Act, a bill that would limit companies’ ability to track children on the web or on mobile devices and empower parents to protect their kids. Please stand up for kids’ online privacy by asking your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 1895 today at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/donottrackkids.html. The bill now has 38 co-sponsors, but it needs your rep’s support!

Recommended Reading and Listening

Support CCFC

 

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