Should We Care if Cher Swears? The FCC, Indecency, and Marketing to Children

by: 

Susan Linn, Ed.D.

The news that a federal appeals court struck down a Federal Communications Commission indecency policy reminded me of the whole Justin-Timberlake-ripping-Janet-Jackson’s-blouse-off-during-the-Super-Bowl debacle a few years ago. Tens of thousands of people called the FCC to complain, which is what spurred the agency to crack down on indecency.

Happy Meal Lawsuit Update: Is McDonald's Playing Games with Nutrition Facts?

by: 

Michele Simon

Last week I blogged about how the Center for Public Interest (CSPI) is threatening a lawsuit against McDonald's for using toys to promote Happy Meals to kids. Since then, McDonald's has responded, sort of. In a letter apparently fed to the press even before CSPI got to see it, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner attempts to "set the record straight:"

Seduced and Abandoned: The Perils of Nostalgia and the Commercialization of Childhood by Susan Linn

by: 

Susan Linn, Ed.D.

I’m not surprised that American Girl dolls are about to be sold a la Webkins with keys to a virtual world—the brand’s fate was sealed when it was sold to Mattel. But the news made me sad.  It’s yet another corporate message to children that their imaginative world—their own creative play—isn’t good enough.  Back in the day, I was rather fond of the dolls.

McDonald's Facing Potential Lawsuit for Luring Kids With Happy Meal Toys - It's About Time

by: 

Michele Simon

It was only a matter of time. Last month, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) served McDonald's with a notice of its intent to sue if the fast food giant continues to use toys to promote Happy Meals. (An "intent to sue" letter is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in some states.) The basis for the potential case is that using toys to market to small children is unfair and deceptive under the consumer protection laws in a number of states.

How Did PepsiCo's CEO Inflitrate the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Annual Report on Obesity?

by: 

Michele Simon

Because I tend to focus my attention on news being generated by the major food companies, I don't always pay close attention to the latest scary reports on obesity data. So when the annual report called F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America came out this week, I just thought, Oh there's that report again with the awful name, with the same gloomy numbers as last year.

A Leading Advertiser Calls for an End to Advertising to Children

by: 

Josh Golin

There are days when the forces that mine childhood for profit seem too formidable; when the corporate capture of our government feels like far too much to overcome; when the chorus of "it's all parents' fault" is so deafening that I have trouble hearing other voices. And then there are days like today, when something extraordinary happens that renews my faith that a commercial-free childhood is possible.

Scooby-Doo Salad? No Thanks.

by: 

Susan Linn, Ed.D.

I happen to know a five-year-old fan of SpongeBob SquarePants who told her father, in no uncertain terms, that SpongeBob mac and cheese tastes better than any other macaroni and cheese.  It turns out she was right—sort of. A recent study from the Rudd Center at Yale found that characters like Scooby-Doo and Dora the Explorer actually influence how children experience the taste of junk food, as well as their choice for a snack.

The Real Toy $tory

by: 

Susan Linn, Ed.D.

It’s old news that it is virtually impossible to find a movie for kids these days not selling them toys, clothing, food and accessories. But that doesn’t mean we should stop being outraged about it. Particularly egregious is when a film cloaks itself in positive messages while cynically undermining them by brand licensing, product placement and cross promotions.

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