September 2012

We’ve Got a New Look and Website!; Save the Date: CCFC’s 8th Consuming Kids Summit; We Did It! FTC Takes Decisive Action Against "Your Baby Can Read"; Standing Up For Children’s Privacy; Recommended Viewing: Sext Up Kids: How Children are Becoming Hypersexualized; Recommended Reading.

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In this issue:

 


We’ve Got a New Look and Website!

Announcing the launch of CCFC’s snazzy new website! Now at www.commercialfreechildhood.org you’ll find it easier than ever to find great resources, news about CCFC, and information about our latest campaigns. It’s also the new home of our blog! Check it out, bookmark it, and share with friends and family.

 


Save the Date: CCFC’s 8th Consuming Kids Summit

Mark your calendar. CCFC’s 8th international summit, Consuming Kids: Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers, will be held on March 21-23, 2013 at Wheelock College in Boston. This year’s summit focuses on our four core strategies for reducing the harmful effects of commercialism: reducing screen time, corporate campaigning, protecting commercial-free space for children, and advocating for policies that limit marketers’ access to children. Registration opens October 17 at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/event/summit2013; register early to take advantage of early bird rates.


 

We Did It! FTC Takes Decisive Action Against "Your Baby Can Read"

In an important milestone in CCFC’s ongoing efforts to hold the "genius baby" media industry accountable for its false and deceptive marketing, the Federal Trade Commission filed false advertising charges against the marketers of "Your Baby Can Read," a video series which retailed for as much as $200. In April 2011, CCFC filed an FTC complaint against Your Baby Can, LLC and its spokesperson and founder, Dr. Robert Titzer. The FTC’s action is a direct result of our efforts.

Your Baby Can and former CEO Hugh Penton agreed to settle the FTC's charges. The settlement bars the defendants from further use of the phrase "Your Baby Can Read" and imposes a $185 million judgment—equal to the company's gross sales since 2008—against the company. The FTC’s decision is an important victory for children and families and for anyone who believes that advertisers should be held accountable for deceiving consumers. For more information, please see CCFC’s website and this article from the Associated Press.


 

Standing Up For Children’s Privacy

CCFC is proud to be part of a broad coalition working to protect children’s privacy online. In August, along with 17 other organizations, we filed five separate complaints with the FTC against McDonald’s, Subway, General Mills, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The complaints urge the FTC to investigate these companies for unfair and deceptive marketing practices that use refer-a-friend campaigns to incite children to engage in viral marketing. These campaigns invite children to submit their own, and their friends’, personal information without obtaining parental consent. You can read the complaint here.

This week, the coalition petitioned the FTC to update COPPA by giving parents control over whether their children are tracked online by corporations and data brokers. COPPA rules have not been updated since 1998, despite the fact that online and mobile marketing has completely transformed since then. The FTC has proposed strong new rules, but the affected industries are lobbying hard to fight these changes. Our comments urge the FTC to hold firm and detail why 20th century rules aren’t adequate to protect children from 21st century marketing. You can read more about the FTC’s proposed changes in this story from the New York Times.


 

Recommended Viewing: Sext Up Kids: How Children are Becoming Hypersexualized

This new documentary from filmmaker Maureen Palmer and our friends at the Media Education Foundation takes a sobering look at how the current barrage of sexualized media and marketing undermines girls’ healthy development. The film features eye-opening statistics and stories about how porn culture has infiltrated the lives of children, and features interviews with CCFC’s Susan Linn, Peggy Orenstein, Gail Dines, and other experts on girls and media. We highly recommend this film for parents, educators, and activists.  For more information, please visit http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=248.


 

Recommended Reading

Is technology sapping children’s creativity? – Thoughtful advice for parents from CCFC Steering Committee member Nancy Carlsson-Paige.

Nonprofit urges schools to ban Channel One newscast over onslaught of commercials – Fox News covers our ongoing campaign against in-school marketer Channel One.

Logos 'brand' youthful minds – A new study reveals how food marketers exploit children's developmental vulnerabilities by "tapping into the reward areas of the brain," areas that develop before the regions that provide self-control.


 

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