November 2016

Time to crown the TOADY: Vote for the Worst Toy of 2016; "Why I Support CCFC" – A donor speaks; Screen-Free Week meets Children’s Book Week; Simplify the holidays with resources from New Dream; Two holiday shopping blogs for screen-conscious families; Fighting digital billboards in LA and Michigan schools

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In this issue: 

  • Time to crown the TOADY: Vote for the Worst Toy of 2016
  • "Why I Support CCFC" – A donor speaks 
  • Screen-Free Week meets Children’s Book Week
  • Simplify the holidays with resources from New Dream
  • Two holiday shopping blogs for screen-conscious families
  • Fighting digital billboards in LA and Michigan schools

Time to crown the TOADY: Vote for the Worst Toy of 2016

It’s time to choose the worst toy of 2016! Once again, our TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for Worst Toy of the Year spotlights a selection of toys that promote precocious sexuality, violence, and branded entertainment at the expense of children’s privacy, creativity, and safety. And for the first time, CCFC has enlisted six advocacy organizations to partner with us. Each of our partners has nominated a toy that they feel embodies a particular problem with childhood commercialization. Each toy is terrible, but the worst is up to you. Polls close at midnight on December 4, so vote now--and please campaign for your pick on social media! We’ll announce the winner on December 5, so stay tuned.

And whether you voted already or are still undecided, please read and share these great posts from our partners on why their nominees embody troubling toy trends.

"Why I Support CCFC" – A donor speaks

When Dr. Holly Gore Groh and her husband, who were raising their children with limited screen time, were displaced from their home by Hurricane Katrina, they sought out screen-free resources in their new community—and found CCFC. As Holly puts it, “Not only does CCFC provide support and resources for families like mine, but they fearlessly take on the industries robbing our children of the ability to just be kids. We became immediate supporters. I am a big fan of everything CCFC does. My favorite thing about CCFC is their David and Goliath campaigns against mega-corporations like Disney, Mattel, and McDonald’s. And like David, they’ve had some pretty impressive victories.

"As a physician and mother, I wholly believe that we need to protect childhood. To have your imagination intact, to really be a creative thinker, is a great gift for a child. As I go through my day, I see so much of our society (young and old) on screens -- which is exactly where the marketers want them. I find great comfort and hope in knowing that CCFC exists to change all that, and am sincerely grateful for all that they do."

We are grateful to Holly and supporters like her, who act as ambassadors by talking to their friends, families, and communities about our work and mission. If you’re interested in supporting CCFC, as Holly does every year, please donate here. 

Screen-Free Week meets Children’s Book Week 

Reading is a perfect way for children and families to unplug, and we are pleased to announce that in 2017, CCFC’s annual Screen-Free Week (May 1-7, 2017) is teaming up with Children’s Book Week. Screen-Free Week is CCFC’s international celebration that helps families take a deliberate break from screens, and what better way to do that than by joining an annual celebration of books and reading? For more than 100 years, Children’s Book Week has held events in bookstores, libraries and communities across the country, connecting children with their favorite authors and illustrators in person. Sponsored by Every Child a Reader, these events will be a perfect complement to Screen-Free Week as families unplug from digital entertainment. Look for kick-off events, pledge cards and other resources coming soon. In the meantime, check out the SFW and CBW sites for testimonials on how these programs are life-changing for children and families.

Simplify the holidays with resources from New Dream

Our friends at the Center for a New American Dream have long been leaders in challenging consumerism for the well-being of people and the environment. Around the holidays, when even the best of us can get swept up in the buying frenzy, New Dream reminds us that not all gifts need to be purchased or even wrapped. We’re glad to share some of New Dream’s great resources with you. Their More Fun, Less Stuff catalog provides hundreds of ideas of non-“stuff” gift giving, including coupon templates to customize for your family and friends. And be sure to check out their SoKind Gift registry, an online service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, and more. Let the (non-traditional) gift giving begin! 

Two holiday shopping blogs for screen-conscious families

With holiday advertising already bombarding us, we understand that families want to create holiday magic without creating a monster. This month, CCFC friend and researcher Eric Rasmussen wrote a guest blog about the direct impact children’s screen exposure has on their holiday requests—and how Santa, allegedly in charge of this whole gift-giving operation, has almost no influence at all. 

And over on Eric’s website, our own Screen Time Program Manager, Jean Rogers, explains how parents' nostalgia—and their connections with logos, colors, and brand messaging—makes them want to buy certain toys for their children today. Read Jean’s blog to learn how brands relentlessly ensnare parents’ emotions, and can prompt purchases that encourage scripted play and brand loyalty. 

Fighting digital billboards in LA and Michigan schools

CCFC is opposing two plans to install huge digital billboards on school grounds. In Los Angeles, we’re asking members of the LA Board of Education to enforce the existing prohibition on ads and sponsorships in schools by opposing a giant electronic billboard in front of Hollywood High. CCFC’s David Monahan was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on why such billboards a bad idea. We’ve also partnered with Scenic Michigan on a petition drive to oppose a zoning change which would allow digital billboards on public school property in that state. If you live in Michigan, please take action and spread the word. 

This kind of marketing does not belong on school grounds, where it can’t be turned off and ads appear to have the endorsement of the school. These bright billboards would also pose a safety risk by distracting passing drivers, including inexperienced teen students. We trust that regulators will do the right thing and put the welfare of kids first.

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