September 2015

Study Finds Computers in Classrooms Don’t Improve Student Performance; Back-to-School Resource: Facing the Screen Dilemma; CCFC Welcomes New Campaign Manager, David Monahan; Out of Bounds: The NFL’s Intensive Campaign to Target Children; New Film The Illusionists Takes on the Globalization of Beauty; Book Review: Reset Your Child’s Brain by Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley; Recommended Reading

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Study Finds Computers in Classrooms Don’t Improve Student Performance
An important new study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that expensive tech in the classroom does not lead to better student outcomes. In fact, "Those students who use tablets and computers very often tend to do worse than those who use them moderately." The researchers looked at the effects of school technology on test scores in over 70 countries and found that the education systems that spent most on classroom technology did not see improved test results for reading, math, or science. The best-performing school systems, in contrast, have been cautious about using computers and other high-tech devices in the classroom. Another key finding: "the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, [and is] perhaps even amplified." This is crucial information for school administrators in the U.S. who increasingly feel pressure to digitize the classroom experience, even for very young children. Here is a link to read more and share with your school administrators.

Back-to-School Resource: Facing the Screen Dilemma
The OECD’s new study drives home the need for schools to make evidence-based decisions about the use of technologies in classrooms. That’s why it’s a great time to get your free copy of Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education. Packed with relevant research and practical tips, it's the first guide designed to help early educators make informed decisions about whether, why, how, and when to use screen technologies with young children. While Facing the Screen Dilemma was written for early childhood professionals, parents will find the research sections and practical suggestions helpful in making decisions at home. If you have children in daycare or preschool settings, we urge you to share the guide with providers and teachers.

CCFC Welcomes New Campaign Manager, David Monahan
We’re thrilled to introduce the latest addition to CCFC’s staff. Attorney David Monahan, our new Campaign Manager, spent the last 15 years in the Consumer Protection Division of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General where he handled enforcement actions to address unfair and deceptive business practices. Most recently, David served as Deputy Chief of the Consumer Protection Division. He’s also a faculty member at New England Law Boston, where he serves as the Writing Specialist. David will be responsible for organizing and implementing CCFC’s campaigns to protect children from harmful marketing and expanding our advocacy partnerships. Welcome, David!

Out of Bounds: The NFL’s Intensive Campaign to Target Children
With football season upon us and scrutiny increasing of the National Football League’s promotion of gambling, it’s a great time to revisit CCFC’s groundbreaking report on the league’s direct marketing to children. Out of Bounds details how the league advertises to children online, on children’s television stations, in schools, and in partnership with trusted nonprofits and government agencies serving kids and families. Says Josh Golin, CCFC’s Executive Director and lead author on the report, “Even as parents are rightly concerned about letting kids play football, the NFL is threatening children’s wellbeing by employing a 360° marketing strategy to maximize its current audience and ensure a host of future fans. The league’s focus on children is designed to immerse kids in sedentary video games and other media, sell them on junk food, and hook them on fantasy sports.” Download your copy at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/nfl.

New Film The Illusionists Takes on the Globalization of Beauty
Directed by filmmaker Elena Rossini and distributed by our friends at Media Education Foundation, the important new film The Illusionists examines the globalization of beauty. The film takes a critical look how global advertising firms, mass media, and the beauty industry create a Westernized, consumer-driven beauty ideal and sell it all over the world — to the detriment of women and girls everywhere. The film features CCFC founder Susan Linn, who highlights the disturbing trend of this narrow, damaging beauty ideal being pushed on girls at younger and younger ages. You can learn more about the film and watch the trailer here.

Book Review: Reset Your Child’s Brain by Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley
Diagnoses of psychosocial and neurodevelopmental disorders including ADHD and autism spectrum disorders have exploded over the past couple decades; however, many children diagnosed with these disorders often don’t respond well to treatment. In her new book, Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time, psychiatrist Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley posits that interactive screen-time, like computer and video game use, can create and exacerbate psychiatric symptoms in children. Concerned many children exhibiting chronic irritability, poor focus, and oppositional defiance are being misdiagnosed and overmedicated, Dunckley outlines a detailed, step-by-step, four-week program to minimize and reverse the harmful effects of what she dubs Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS). Dr. Dunckley’s book includes practical instructions on how to set yourself up for success when working to “reset” your child’s brain through an electronic fast, along with tips to handle resistance and pitfalls that may occur. Dunckley’s methods have helped hundreds of children and their families reverse the effects of ESS.

Recommended Reading