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Commercial Free Childhood
NOVEMBER 10, 2004
12:46 PM
CONTACT: Commercial Free Childhood
Dr. Susan Linn 617-278-4282
New Name for National Coalition on Marketing to Children

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 “Marketing directly to children undermines all aspects of children’s healthy development, yet corporations spend about $15 billion annually directly targeting children—and our government does less to regulate advertising to children than nearly every other democracy,” said the Campaign’s Dr. Susan Linn, of Harvard’s Judge Baker Children’s 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 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. For instance, the Campaign’s 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 don’t sell children junk food, lunchboxes and pajamas.”


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