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CCFC NEWS

 

CCFC News is a regular service for members and friends of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.   CCFC's mission is to stop commercial exploitation of children through action, advocacy, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children.  We support the rights of children to grow up – and the rights of parents to raise them – without being undermined by rampant consumerism. 

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

We Changed Our Name!

SCEC is now the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

 

To reflect its growing membership and commitment to positive action, the coalition formerly known as Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children (SCEC) has renamed itself the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). 

 

“We support the right of parents to raise their children in an environment free from corporate manipulation,” said coalition and steering committee member Enola Aird, J.D., director of the Motherhood Project at the Institute for American Values.   “So many parents I talk to are fed up with the continual commercial assault on their children-- and are growing in their determination to stop it. The Campaign will bring together those parents – and anyone else who cares about children – to reclaim childhood from commercial exploitation.”

 

Founded in 2000, the coalition to Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children has been a leader in the growing movement to stop the escalation of corporate marketing in children’s lives.  In addition to coordinating grass roots actions, the coalition holds national summits and Congressional briefings detailing both the harm of marketing to children and specific policies to correct it. 

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood will continue SCEC’s important work raising public awareness about how marketing harms children, advocating for better policies, and taking on the most egregious corporate offenders.  In addition, the Campaign will emphasize the benefits of protecting kids from commercial exploitation. 

CCFC’s 4th Annual Summit:  Register Now!

Consuming Kids: How Marketing Undermines Children’s Health, Values & Behavior

Howard University Blackburn Center, Washington, DC
March 11-13, 2005
 

Join us to hear the country’s leading activists and scholars discuss the commercialization of childhood and what we can do to stop it. Network. Find out how you can help!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday:     6:00PM: Welcome Dinner

Saturday: 8:30AM - 6:00PM: Presentations and Activist  Workshops

                6:00PM: Dinner

Sunday:   8:30AM – 12:00: Presentations

 

The onslaught of marketing to children continues to escalate. Join us to hear leading activists and scholars discuss the ways marketing undermine childhood; to network; to find out what is being done to stem the tide and what you can do to help.

 

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Alvin Poussaint, Enola Aird, Michael Brody, Jean Kilbourne, Diane Levin, Susan Linn, Nell "The Movie Mom" Minow, Juliet Schor, The New York Times Magazine's Rob Walker, and many more.  (Click here for the complete list of speakers)

 

Conference fee: $225 · $200 for current CCFC members.
Student discount available with student ID

All meals are included in the registration fee.  

Seating is limited: Click here for a printable registration form.
Contact ccfc<at>commercialfreechildhood.org for more information.

CCFC Launches New Website

New Site Features Printable Fact Sheets

In conjunction with its new name, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has launched a new website, www.commercialfreechildhood.org.  The new site was designed by Todd Morrisette of AfterFive by Design, who generously donated his time and resources. 

The new site contains printable fact sheets about marketing to children.  Topics include Marketing and Obesity, New Marketing Techniques, Marketing in Schools, Marketing Violence to Teens and Tweens, Marketing Sex to Children, and many, many more.  The fact sheets are the result of a collaboration between CCFC’s national office and Quad Cities chapter.  (Monica Castaneda of CCFC-QC is responsible for the fact sheets’ design as well as our new logo). 

The fact sheets will be used by CCFC-QC for outreach presentations to church and community organizations.  We hope that other CCFC members will use the fact sheets to generate discussions about marketing to children in their own communities. 

And if you’re interested in starting a local chapter of CCFC, please contact Josh Golin (josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)

CCFC Member News:  TRUCE Toy Guide Now Available

The 2004-05 TRUCE Toy Action Guide is now available on-line in time
for the holiday season.  For 10 years, Teachers Resisting Unhealthy 
Children's Entertainment has been preparing the guide for practitioners
 to distribute to parents to help them promote creative, non-violent play 
and choose high quality toys and play materials for their children.  The Toy 
Action Guide contains information on how to select toys that promote positive 
play and reduce the influence of harmful toys on children.  There is a list of 
TRUCE 2004-2005 recommendations for "Toys for Healthy & Creative Play" as 
well as "Toys and Toy Trends to Avoid."  The Guide again provides 
suggestions for "Shoe Box Gifts," an alternative gift idea that promotes play 
around themes with common objects often found around the house. There are 
also suggestions for how parents and schools can work together to counteract 
the harmful effects of the commercialization of play. To download the guide, 
go to: www.truceteachers.org
 
Also, this holiday season:  the activist group Code Pink has launched an 
anti-war toy campaign.  The campaign includes a number of innovative ideas for 
parents concerned about the marketing of violent toys to children.  For more 
information, visit 
http://www.codepinkalert.org/National_Actions_Anti_War_Toys_Actions.shtml

 

Book Reviews

 

Juliet Schor, Born to Buy : The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture

Like Susan Linn’s Consuming Kids, Born to Buy is a comprehensive and unsparing account of how marketers target children.  Schor, the author of The Overspent American, describes how commercial messages have infiltrated every aspect of childhood.  Perhaps most importantly, Schor’s own research demonstrates that children who are highly involved in consumer culture are likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and psychosomatic complaints.  A must-read for parents, educators, and anyone who cares about children, Born to Buy is a convincing and powerful argument for why we need to decommercialize childhood.

 

Joanne Cantor, Teddy’s TV Troubles 

This picture book will help children and parents cope with the scary things they see on television.  Teddy Bear is lucky; although he has been frightened by something he saw on TV, his mother knows just what to do. Together they soothe his fears through a series of calming, fun-filled activities.  A great book for both kids and their parents by a leading expert on the media and children’s fears.

 

Parents Beware: SpongeBob Movie Rife with Commercialism

 

Citing the film’s promotions with Burger King, Kellogg’s, and Keebler, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is warning parents to beware of the excessive and harmful levels of commercialism in the new SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

“This movie is essentially a ninety minute commercial for junk food,” said CCFC’s Dr. Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. “Parents who take their children to see the film should expect to be besieged with requests for products from the movie’s promotional partners.”

To learn more about SpongeBob’s ties to junk food and CCFC’s concerns, please visit http://www.commercialexploitation.org/pressreleases/spongebob.htm 

CCFC and Environmental Advocates Urge US Youth Soccer to Give TruGreen/ChemLawn Partnership the Boot

Citing concerns about exploiting children’s love of soccer to market toxic products to their families, CCFC recently sent a public letter to US Youth Soccer (USYS) asking them not to renew their sponsorship agreement with TruGreen/ChemLawn.  The letter, which was signed by more than 30 children’s and environmental organizations, calls on USYS to:

  • Protect children’s health by not renewing their sponsorship agreement with ChemLawn when the current agreement expires in December, 2004.
  • Protect children’s privacy by refusing to share their contact information with TruGreen/ChemLawn – or any other corporate sponsors.

  • Refrain from working with corporate partners whose products and/or practices may cause harm to children.

To learn more about the USYS/ChemLawn partnership and to read the full text of CCFC’s letter, please visit http://www.commercialexploitation.org/Pressreleases/chemlawn.htm 

Parents with concerns about this partnership should can send a letter to USYS President David Messersmith and Director of Marketing Chris Branscome by visiting: http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?itemid=17820. 

Things We Wish We Didn’t Know

Hello Kitty is introducing a MasterCard debit card.  “We think our target age group will be from 10 to 14, although it could certainly go younger,” said one Hello Kitty marketing executive.  Next up:  A line of Hello Kitty cell phones.[i] 

Tiny Tots Inc. is “helping” tackle the childhood obesity epidemic by . . . releasing a line of videos?  “Baby Football” and “Baby Golf” are the latest installments in the series, the goal of which, Tiny Tots claims, is to get “children up, active, and in the game.”[ii]  Parents of toddlers

may be surprised to learn their children need a video to teach them how to be “up and active.”  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under two. 

In the latest in “stealth marketing,” the Girls Intelligence Agency (GIA) has 40,000 “secret agents” – girls who are regularly given new products to introduce to their peers.  The company even arranges slumber parties, where the secret agents invite their unsuspecting friends.  The girls are given a  “slumber party in a box”, which contain games and activities built around the theme of a movie or free samples of various beauty or skin care products.[iii] 

Editorial:  Let’s Talk About Values

The national dialogue about values provides a great opportunity for those of us struggling to stop the commercial exploitation of children.  The values and behavior children learn in the market place--unthinking brand loyalty, impulse buying, me first, and self-indulgence are not the values and behaviors essential to a democracy.  Democracies depend on critical thinking, the capacity to think beyond ourselves to the common good, the capacity to delay gratification, and altruism – hardly the message kids are getting when companies such as Coca-Cola implore them to "Stop Thinking" and "Obey your Thirst."  

Commercial values are also at odds with the values espoused by most mainstream religions.  The prevailing message with which children are bombarded--that happiness and fulfillment will be found only in the acquisition of things—undermines the value of any kind of spiritual journey and the precious human capacity to appreciate the more ephemeral splendors of life. 

So let’s join the dialogue about values.  More than ever before it is essential that we speak up about the messages marketed to children on a daily basis. Better yet, let’s generate dialogue about values at home, in our communities, with our political representatives, and in the media.  The health and well-being of children—and of our country—depend on it.

JOIN CCFC

FOR INDIVIDUALS: With a minimum $25 tax deductible membership you receive:

  • A one year CCFC membership

  • CCFC e-newsletter

  • Notification of events in your area

FOR ORGANIZATIONS: With a minimum $100 membership you receive:

  • All individual benefits

  • Organizational link from the CCFC web page

  • Publicity for your events and activities

  • Opportunities to collaborate

CCFC Membership Fees:

$10            Student
$25            Individual
$50            Supporter
$100          Organization
$250          Advocate
$500          Activist
$1000        Stakeholder

 


[i] Caroline Mayer, “Hello Debit Card”, The Washington Post, October 10, 2004.  Available at http://www.commercialexploitation.com/news/articles/hellokitty.htm

[ii] “Two New Videos Give Toddlers Fun Introduction to Football and Golf; Join Award-Winning Series Aimed at Keeping Kids Active,” PR Newswire.  Available at http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/11-23-2004/0002499169&EDATE=.

[iii] Nell Minow, “Stealth advertising puts products and pitches everywhere . . . and you may never know” Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2004 . Available at http://www.commercialexploitation.com/news/articles/tribune92104.htm.



 

 

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