October 2012

Victory! McDonald's Caves to Pressure from Privacy Advocates; Tell the FTC: Help Parents Protect Children Online; CCFC and Friends at NAEYC; Send Us Your TOADY Nominees; Federal Employees: Donate to CCFC Through the Combined Federal Campaign; An Important New Rule to Protect Babies and Toddlers from BPA; Recommended Reading: Food Marketing Edition

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In this issue:

Victory! McDonald’s Caves to Pressure from Privacy Advocates

Faced with blistering criticism and possible action by the Federal Trade Commission, McDonald's ended a controversial viral marketing program on HappyMeal.com. McDonald’s decision comes after the Center for Digital Democracy and a coalition of advocacy groups (including CCFC) filed an FTC complaint against McDonald’s for collecting children’s personal information without parental consent. McDonald’s had been encouraging children to send photos, links, and e-cards using its "forward-to-a-friend" feature, which allowed the fast food chain to collect email addresses of both the referrers and their friends. McDonald's decision to end this practice is a victory for privacy advocates and for parents wanting to protect their children online.

Tell the FTC: Help Parents Protect Children Online

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is an important law that requires websites to obtain permission from a parent or guardian before collecting or using personal information from children under age 13. But the rules were written in 1998, long before Facebook, mobile apps, and the intensive tracking and targeting of children online. The FTC’s commonsense proposal will empower parents to safeguard their children, but industries that profit from exploiting children online are lobbying hard to weaken the agency’s proposal. Please tell the FTC: let’s help parents protect their children online. (And to learn more about the proposed changes, click here.)

CCFC and Friends at NAEYC

Next week, the National Association for the Education of Young Children will hold its annual conference in Atlanta, and CCFC will be there! If you’re attending, don’t miss presentations by CCFC’s director Susan Linn, Steering Committee members Diane Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and the Alliance for Childhood’s Joan Almon. And be sure to visit us at booth 1356 in the exhibit hall to pick up your free pre-publication copy of Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education, a joint publication of CCFC, the Alliance for Childhood and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment. This important new guide, designed to help early educators make developmentally appropriate decisions about whether and how to use screen technologies in their settings, will be available on CCFC’s website beginning November 13.

Send Us Your TOADY Nominees

Excitement is building for the CCFC’s 4th annual TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children ) awards. Our nominating committee is scouring toy aisles to find the worst of the worst—but we want to hear from you, too! Help us identify toys that promote violence and/or precocious sexuality to children, discourage creativity, or push branded entertainment and excessive screen time at the expense of children’s play. Send your nominees for this year’s TOADY to ccfc@commercialfreechildhood.org. Previous winners include the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet for babies, Nickelodeon’s Addicting Games website, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Barbie..

Federal Employees: Donate to CCFC Through the Combined Federal Campaign

Attention federal employees: CCFC is part of the Combined Federal Campaign, the world's largest annual workplace charity campaign. We’ve also been awarded the Independent Charities of America Seal of Excellence, which is given only to organizations that have, upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate that they meet the highest standard of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness. Please consider a workplace gift to CCFC. Find us in the CFC giving brochure as “Commercial-Free Childhood – Protecting Children From Harmful Advertising,” CFC #83229.

An Important New Rule to Protect Babies and Toddlers from BPA

CCFC is proud to support a proposed citizen-initiated rule in Maine that would phase out the use of the chemical BPA, or bisphenol-A, in the packaging of foods intentionally marketed to children under the age of 3. Earlier this fall, CCFC’s Dr. Susan Linn testified at a hearing of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection that the proposed rule is both “appropriate and enforceable” and detailed the ways that foods—many of which have BPA in their packaging—are aggressively marketed to babies and toddlers. For more information, please visit http://www.nrcm.org/issue_saferproducts.asp.

Recommended Reading: Food Marketing Edition

A new survey from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shows that parents across the political spectrum support limits on junk food marketing to children.

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to prevent childhood obesity started off strong, but the Nation explores whether the effort’s cozy relationship with the food industry prevented the First Lady from taking a strong stand against junk food marketing to children.

In the Huffington Post, Kristin Wartman describes the frightening facts about food marketing and childhood obesity—including a forthcoming study that shows that children can identify McDonald’s golden arches even before they know the letter M.

Support CCFC

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding. To make your tax-deductible donation, please click here.