November 2009

CCFC's Consuming Kids Summit: New Presenters Added; CEUs Available; Great Resources for the Holidays; Looking for Parents/Students/Teachers to Help Stop Channel One; Three New Studies Raise Concerns About Screen Time and Young Children; Things We Wish We Didn't Know; A Sad Day for Families: NIMF to Close after 14 Incredible Years; Is There a Future for Ad-Free Children's Media?

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CCFC's Consuming Kids Summit: New Presenters Added; CEUs Available

CCFC's 2010 Consuming Kids Summit: Market Values, Human Values, and the Lives of Children is shaping up to be our best summit yet.  Recently added presenters include Annie Leonard, creator and host of the Internet film sensation The Story of Stuff; Mike Brody of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the Marin Institute's Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit; Mary Rothschild of Healthy Media Choices; and Brandy King of the Center on Media and Child Health.

We are also pleased to announce that Wheelock College is making PDP and CEU credits available to educators and social workers who attend the summit.  We'll keep you posted on how to apply.

For more information, including all the summit presenters, please visit  Early bird registrations are going fast so register today!

Great Resources for the Holidays

With the annual holiday advertising assault in full swing, we're pleased to share with you a number of great resources for surviving the hype:

  • CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Holidays features tips from leading activists, authors, and educators for reclaiming the holidays from corporate marketers
  • Teacher's Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE) 2009-2010 Toy Action Guide helps families make decisions about quality toys to buy as gifts for children.  There's also a section on "shoebox gifts," which demonstrates that expensive toys in fancy packages aren't the only way to promote quality play.
  • Teacher's Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE) 2009-2010 Toy Action Guide helps families make decisions about quality toys to buy as gifts for children.  There's also a section on "shoebox gifts," which demonstrates that expensive toys in fancy packages aren't the only way to promote quality play.

Looking for Parents/Students/Teachers to Help Stop Channel One

We're stepping up our campaign against Alloy's Channel One News - the highly controversial in-school commercialized news network that forces children to watch ads in their classroom each day - and we need you.  Despite the fact that Alloy uses Channel One to bypass parents and advertise to a captive audience of schoolchildren, the company refuses to make its entire broadcasts available on the web so that parents can see the advertisements their children are forced to view each school day. 

If you're a parent whose child must watch Channel One - or a teacher compelled to show it in your classroom - please let us know by emailing ccfc<at>  We won't share your information with anyone, but from time to time, you'll get special requests and information from us regarding Channel One.  And with your help, we'll stop Channel One the way we stopped BusRadio.

Three New Studies Raise Concerns About Screen Time and Young Children

  • Kids Watch More Than a Day of TV Each Week.  The latest figures from Nielsen find that children's television viewing is at an eight-year high.  On average, children two-to-five watch more than thirty-two hours a week while children six-to-eleven watch more than twenty-eight hours.  Learn more...
  • Day Care May Double TV Time for Young Children.  A new study by Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, and Michelle M. Garrison, PhD finds that children watch significant amounts of television in child care settings, particularly those that are home-based.  Of the programs surveyed, 70 percent of home-based day care and 36 percent of center-based day care reported that children watch TV daily, with preschool-aged children in home-based care watching an average of 2.4 hours a day.  "Unfortunately, for many children, the potential benefits of preschool may be being displaced by passive TV viewing," said Dr. Christakis. Learn more / read the study...
  • TV Exposure Linked to Toddler Aggression.  A new study finds that the more television a three-year-old watches, the more likely he or she is to exhibit aggressive behaviors such as fighting, disobeying, hitting and angry moods.  Background television is also correlated to aggressive behavior.  Learn more...

Things We Wish We Didn't Know

  • Disney is launching its first branded programming online.  "The Possibility Shop," produced by The Jim Henson Company, is designed to promote Clorox brands.  FCC rules prohibit product integration on children's television, but these rules do not apply to web programming.  Learn more...
  • A successful campaign by CCFC stopped Scholastic from promoting the highly sexualized Bratz brand in schools, but the country's leading in-school marketer continues to promote gender stereotypes and materialism in schools.  This month's Firefly book club for preschoolers includes the Barbie Fashion Fun Flip Book.  To urge Scholastic to clean up its book club offerings, please click here.

A Sad Day for Families: NIMF to Close after 14 Incredible Years

We are saddened by the impending closing of National Institute on Media and the Family, spearheaded by Dr. David Walsh.  For 14 years, NIMF was a wonderful resource for parents and policy makers concerned about children's media use, a powerful voice in the struggle to prevent children's immersion in violent media, and a partner in many of CCFC's campaigns.

This past year has been a difficult one for advocacy groups working to protect children in our media-saturated, marketing-driven culture.  We've also lost Dads and Daughters, and The Center for Screen Time Awareness.  Now, more the ever, it's important to make your voice heard.  Click here for ten things you can do to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.  

And please visit to share your thoughts about NIMF's amazing work.

Is There a Future for Ad-Free Children's Media?
By Nancy Gruver

A year ago my answer would have been a resounding YES! As the founder and CEO of New Moon Girl Media, I’ve spent nearly eighteen years creating ad-free media for girls ages 8 and up. When my eleven year old twin daughters, husband (CCFC Steering Committee Joe Kelly) and I started New Moon, one of the first big decisions we made was that our magazine by and for girls would be ad-free. We also decided not to be non-profit as history shows that non-profit funding sources rarely support print media.

We decided against ads for both philosophical and business reasons. In 1992 nearly every ad aimed at girls ages 8 & up (our age range) was sexist: telling girls that they needed to buy lots of products to make themselves pretty, popular, likable, nice, etc. Other dominant ad messages presented a mold of acceptable girlhood (and womanhood) that they must try to squeeze themselves into. That inflexible mold included denial of their emotional needs in order to meet the needs of others and it decreed that sexual attractiveness was the only power available to girls and women.

Our business reason for not relying on ad revenue was that our magazine was going to challenge sexism and stereotypes. We had seen Ms. magazine be put out of business at least twice by advertisers unhappy with the editorial content flexing their muscle and pulling enough ads that Ms. couldn’t pay its bills. We wanted New Moon to rely solely on its readers for financial support. That way we wouldn’t have to try to balance our readers’ needs against advertisers’ needs.

Our business was never wildly profitable, but we did better than break-even over the long-term. We were able to pay fair wages, pay writers and artists, and offer excellent benefits to our small staff, including health insurance. But in the past 18 months it hasn’t worked anymore. This is partly due to the severe recession but there are also other forces working against us. We’ve “coped” by doing 3 painful rounds of staff lay-offs and cutting our overall expenses by 65%. But the question of how to thrive as ad-free media still hangs over us.

In 1993 we charged $25 ($36.80 in 2008 dollars) for a one-year subscription (6 issues). In 2009 we charge $29.95 for the same 6 issues plus a huge interactive, fully-moderated, safe, COPPA-compliant online community for our members. Both the magazine and the online are ad-free.

We’re providing much more value for a lower price. Yet we often hear from potential customers (and even current customers) that our $29.95 price is too high and that we should accept ads so that we don’t have to charge members the full cost of providing the magazine and online community. They don’t think ads are that bad and girls can just ignore ads anyway. We respectfully disagree and they don’t purchase or renew New Moon, even though they may pay up to $72/yr for Club Penguin or similar online-only products.

The numbers of parents and grandparents who know that ads are harmful don’t seem to be large enough to support New Moon at this point. So we face the question of survival. I still haven’t been willing to accept ads. But if something in the small media business model doesn’t change it will come down to a decision in the next few months about accepting ads or sponsorship in order to keep providing the New Moon experience to girls. I dread that decision and am looking every day for ways to resolve it without accepting ads or sponsors. We launched a Save New Moon campaign which is going well so far. But we can’t expect our supporters to continue to respond if we have a permanent financial crisis condition.

Other children’s media can’t either. If we want ad-free, high-quality media for children to continue to be available, we need to work quickly to greatly increase the perception of the value of ad-free media and increase the willingness of parents, grandparents, libraries and schools to pay what it actually costs to provide that media.