BOSTON - August 25 - "Don't abandon your commitment to children!" That's the message the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is sending today to PBS. According to a report in Communications Daily, PBS plans to start selling ad space on its websites, including the children's sites PBS Kids.org and PBS Kids Go! CCFC has launched a letter-writing campaign demanding that PBS keep its children's sites commercial-free.
"The web is already rife with marketing that targets kids," said CCFC's co-founder Dr. Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids. "This decision doesn't serve the public interest. The last thing children need is another commercial website."
PBS's decision to sell ad space on websites for kids represents a troubling trend of commercializing public media for children. Parents increasingly have a hard time finding non-commercial media for their children, yet marketing is a factor in myriad childhood ills from obesity to rampant materialism.
"It's sad--and terrible for children--but we shouldn't be surprised," said Dr. Linn. "From adding commercials to their programming to licensing beloved characters to thousands of products, it's long been clear that PBS has abandoned its mission to provide commercial-free programming."
"As a nation we absolutely need to support public television," Dr. Linn added. "But exploiting children is not a good solution to a lack of funds. Once again, PBS has compromised its role as a positive force in the lives of children and families."