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July 23, 2009

Contact:  Evan Silverstein (617.278.4174; esilverstein@jbcc.harvard.edu)
               
For Immediate Release

Statement of CCFC Director Susan Linn on FCC’s Proposed Inquiry into Children’s Television Rules

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for opening an inquiry into its children’s television rules, including inappropriate marketing practices. Under the current rules, multi-national corporations are waging a campaign of “cradle to grave” marketing to train children to be loyal consumers for life.

While parents need to do their part to protect children, the limited resources of hardworking mothers and fathers are no match for powerful industries using rapidly evolving technologies to bypass parents and target children directly, not just on television, but through the internet, cell phones, mp3 players, videogames, and even in schools. That’s why parents need help from government regulatory agencies such as the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose purpose is consumer protection.

Last month, CCFC sent a letter to President Obama—signed by more than 2,500 parents—urging him to authorize both the FCC and the FTC to evaluate their current policies to determine whether the needs of 21st century families are being adequately met. 

Yesterday, CCFC launched an online petition urging the Federal Trade Commission to stop the film industry from inappropriately targeting preschoolers with ads for violent films; films that the industry itself says may contain material inappropriate for children.

CCFC cited more than 3,000 child-targeted ads on children’s television stations for five different violent PG-13 films. Sixteen months ago, in response to a CCFC complaint about marketing PG-13 films to young children, the FTC staff urged the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to develop a marketing policy consistent with the PG-13 rating. To date, the MPAA has not complied. The petition will be delivered to the FTC before the August 7 opening of the upcoming blockbuster GI-Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which is rated PG-13 for “strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout.”

Children have the right to grow up—and parents have the right to raise them—without being undermined by commercial interests. CCFC looks forward to working with both the FCC and the FTC in efforts to protect children from exploitation by corporate marketers.  

To read CCFC’s current petition about marketing violent PG-13 movies to young children, please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/t/6725/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=2021.

To read CCFC’s letter to president Obama, please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/t/6725/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1935.

To read CCFC’s 2007 complaint to the FTC, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org//pressreleases/transformersftcletter.pdf.

To read the FTC’s response, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org//pdf/mengleletter.pdf.

 

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration. CCFC is headquartered at the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston.  www.commercialfreechildhood.org/.
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