BOSTON -- November 10 -- 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 (see www.commercialfreechildhood.org). Marketing directly to children undermines all aspects of childrens healthy development, yet corporations spend about $15 billion annually directly targeting childrenand our government does less to regulate advertising to children than nearly every other democracy, said the Campaigns Dr. Susan Linn, of Harvards Judge Baker Childrens Center and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. Children see 40,000 ads per year on television alone. Marketing to children contributes to public health problems like childhood obesity, eating disorders, precocious and irresponsible sexuality, underage drinking and smoking, youth violence, excessive materialism and family stress.
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, 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 corporate marketers.
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 childrens 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 SCECs 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. For instance, the Campaigns Diane Levin, education professor at Wheelock College and author of Remote Control Childhood, noted how the commercialization of play is harming children, Children play less creatively with toys marketed with TV programs and other media. Nevertheless, such toys are advertised most and thus are the best-sellers. We need to fight this phenomenon and protect our kids and we also need to help parents, educators, and healthcare professionals envision an alternative. Children can play more creatively and have just as much fun with their parents old clothes than with the latest Spiderman toy.
And unlike Spiderman, Levin added, The old clothes dont sell children junk food, lunchboxes and pajamas.