May 2008

Stop the Marketing PG-13 Movies to Preschoolers; Tim Kasser Joins the CCFC Steering Committee; Healthy Media Choices Joins the CCFC Coalition; BusRadio Expelled from Seminole County; Upcoming Events; The Commercialization of Childhood: The Role of Belief Communities; On DVD:  What Would Jesus Buy? Special Offer for CCFC Members

Newsletter HTML: 

Stop the Marketing PG-13 Movies to Preschoolers

Our campaign to stop the marketing of violent PG-13 movies to preschoolers is gathering momentum.  More than 1,800 of you have written the Motion Picture Association of America to urge them to develop a policy "to ensure that PG -13 movies are marketed in a manner consistent with their rating" and the campaign has garnered significant media attention as well. 

 

Unfortunately, it appears that the MPAA is choosing not to act on the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation to adopt clear marketing guidelines for PG-13 movies and sees no problem in marketing these films - even those rated PG-13 for violence - to children as young as three.  On May 16, the MPAA sent us a letter asking us to end our campaign.  The very next day, ads for the PG-13 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as Indiana Jones Lunchables Frosted Flakes, and Burger King toy giveaways flooded children's television. 

 

With scores of cross-promotions aimed at young children planned for the upcoming violent PG-13 movies The Incredible Hulk and The Dark Knight, it is important that the MPAA hear from as many parents as possible.  So if you haven't already, please take a moment to urge the MPAA to stop the marketing of violent PG-13 movies to preschoolers and let friends and family know about this campaign.  If the MPAA continues to be unresponsive, we'll take our case - and your letters - back to the Federal Trade Commission and let them know that the MPAA has little interest in regulating its own members.

 

The MPAA's letter to CCFC is at: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/pdf/mpaalettertoccfc.pdf

 

Our response is available at: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/pdf/ccfcresponsetompaa.pdf

 


 

Tim Kasser Joins the CCFC Steering Committee

 

We are happy to announce that Tim Kasser, Associate Professor of Psychology at Knox College, has joined the CCFC Steering Committee.  Tim is the author of The High Price of Materialism; co-editor (with CCFC’s Allen Kanner) of Psychology and Consumer Culture: The Struggle for a Good Life in a Materialistic World; a long-time informal advisor to CCFC and a frequent speaker at CCFC summits..   You can learn more about Tim, his work, and the unique perspective he brings to CCFC at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/news/shouldthegov.htm.

 


Healthy Media Choices Joins the CCFC Coalition

 

A warm welcome to the newest organizational member of CCFC, Healthy Media Choices, a national nonprofit with offices in New York and Vermont, serves teachers and parents of children ages zero to eight by providing tools to create a healthy relationship with media.   For more information about their work, visit http://www.healthymediachoices.org/.  And for a complete list of CCFC’s organizational members, visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/memberorgs.htm.

 


BusRadio Expelled from Seminole County

 

BusRadio, a controversial new program designed to force kids to listen to music and ads on their way to and from school, hit a major speed bump in Seminole County, Florida last week.  A committee of parents and school officials from recommended that the school district end its trial run with BusRadio.  The decision is particularly noteworthy because Seminole County is the only school system that we know of that set up a special committee to decide whether BusRadio was appropriate for their students and the committee was clearly not pleased with what they discovered.

 

"Bus Radio couldn't agree they wouldn't play songs from albums that had parental advisory warnings on them, and that was pretty much a deal-breaker," said Amy Lockhart, a parent who served on the committee.  This refusal is striking since one of BusRadio’s main selling points is that they are a clean alternative to the inappropriate artists played on commercial radio.

 

Please visit CCFC’s BusRadio resource page at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/busradio.htm for articles and information about BusRadio, including a just-compiled list of school districts that use the program.

 


 

Upcoming Events

 

  • CCFC’s Susan Linn will be making a number of appearances in the Bay Area in from May 29 – June 5, including discussions with parent groups, book talks, and a CCFC house party.  For details on these events, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org//events.htm.

  • The Action Coalition for Media Education will hold a one-day summit in Minneapolis on June 5.  Presenters include CCFC’s Josh Golin.  The summit is a pre-conference to the National Conference on Media Reform.  For information, visit http://www.acmecoalition.org/.

  • Media Madness: The Impact of Sex, Violence, & Commercial Culture on Adults, Children, & Society.:  July 8-11, Wheelock College, Boston.  Led by Gail Dines, author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality, and CCFC’s Diane Levin, author of the forthcoming So Sexy So Soon, this popular summer institute will focus on the onslaught of violent, sexist and commercial images that bombard us daily.  Participants will understand harm caused by this onslaught; build skills to educate and support children, youth and adults to resist the dangers; and integrate broad-based media literacy curricula and activism into classrooms and everyday life.  For more information, visit http://www.wheelock.edu/professional/prof_institutes_desc.asp

 


The Commercialization of Childhood: The Role of Belief Communities

 

As part of CCFC’s recent summit, more than thirty participants in the CCFC summit attended a networking session titled "The Commercialization of Childhood: The Role of Belief Communities," an opportunity for members of theistic and non-theistic communities to exchange about their work.  Here’s a report on the session and a call for follow-up action from Mary Rothschild of Healthy Media Choices, who organized and facilitated the session:

 

There was tremendous energy and joy in the room.  Present were members of the following communities: Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopal, Ethical Culture, Jewish, Presbyterian Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.  Facilitated by Mary Rothschild, the rich exchange demonstrated the common experience of Belief Community as a wellspring of nourishment for self and family. There were also common concerns, such as the ways in which the stereotypes promoted by popular culture infiltrate deeply spiritual communities.  

 

There were lively discussions about intentional diversity in communities, telling  family and community stories  as an antidote to the influence of popular culture and the work various communities are doing.   The communities represented are engaged in a wide range of activities to counter the harmful effects of commercialization and sexualization, from testifying before legislatures about violence in the media to working on sex trafficking. 

 

To join this continuing conversation (whether or not you attended the summit), please email: concernedcommunities@gmail.com.

 


On DVD:  What Would Jesus Buy?  Special Offer for CCFC Members

 

Produced by 2008 Fred Rogers Integrity Award winner Morgan Spurlock and directed by Ron VanAlkemade, this critically acclaimed documentary battles the harmful practices of Big Box stores in America, rising credit card debt, and rampant over-consumption – with the help of activists/performers, the Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.  As the media counts down shopping days ‘til Christmas, the group hits the road to persuade people across the country to think before they consume and to consider the origins of the “stuff” they’re buying.

 

The film combines outrageous humor with stunning facts to inspire Americans to become conscious consumers.  And CCFC members can save $5 by ordering online at http://www.aaadvdstore.com/CCFC.html.