May 12, 2009
Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release
Parents to President Obama: Unfettered Commercialism is Harming our Children.
CCFC urges systematic review of marketing regulations.
As the nation celebrates the first Mother’s and Father’s Days since the inauguration of President Obama, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging the President to launch a systematic review of the regulations on marketing to children to determine whether they offer adequate protection for twenty-first century families. CCFC has launched an online petition appealing to the President as a father of two young girls who has spoken openly about his concerns about commercial messages that sexualize children, glorify violence, and encourage materialism. CCFC will deliver the petition, along with parent comments, to the White House for Father’s Day.
“For decades, mothers and fathers have been struggling alone against an onslaught of marketing that is undermining good parenting and hurting our children," said CCFC member Enola Aird, of Mothers for a Human Future. "We hope that having a President who knows our plight means that help is finally on the way."
CCFC will ask the Obama administration to direct the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to evaluate their policies and regulations to determine whether or not they provide adequate protection for children. Advertising aimed at children has exploded since the 1980s, when children’s television programming was deregulated and Congress restricted the FTC’s authority. No longer confined to television commercials, marketing to children now encompasses interactive, multi-platform campaigns targeting kids through the internet, cell phones, mp3 players, videogames, and even in schools.
“Once the policies that protected children were stripped away, marketers launched an all-out assault on childhood,” said CCFC’s director Dr. Susan Linn, a psychologist at Judge Baker Children's Center. “It makes no sense that in today’s advertising environment that children have fewer safeguards to protect them than they did in the 1970s.”
President Obama has observed that the media and marketing industries have contributed to an “overall coarsening of our culture” and expressed concerns about the content of ads during children’s shows and family programming. In an interview during the 2008 campaign, the he said, “I worry that even if Michelle and I do our best to impart what we think are important values to our children, the media out there will undermine our lessons and teach them something different.”
“It’s great to have a president who understands that media and marketing make it harder for parents to parent,” said CCFC Steering Committee and fathering author Joe Kelly of the Dadman.com. “We hope the President, as father, takes some real steps to relieve marketing’s assault on children and families.”