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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2009
1:01 PM

CONTACT: CCFC

Evan Silverstein (617-278-4174; esilverstein@jbcc.harvard.edu)

Parents Send Father’s Day Appeal to President Obama: Protect Children from Corporate Marketers

WASHINGTON - June 18 - “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.” During his campaign, President Obama acknowledged that he is among the parents struggling against an onslaught of corporate marketing that hurts our children—and makes it harder for parents to parent.

Today, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sent a Father’s Day appeal to President Obama, signed by over twenty five hundred parents, petitioning him to launch a systematic review of the regulations on marketing to children to determine if they offer sufficient protection for twenty-first century families.  The petition, which was also signed by professionals who work with children and families, urges the President to direct the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to evaluate current policies to determine whether or not they adequately protect children.

Since the 1980s, when children’s television was deregulated and Congress restricted the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to regulate marketing to children, the amount of advertising and marketing targeting children has exploded in volume and sophistication. The digital revolution and increasingly miniaturized technology allow marketers today to expand their reach far beyond television and to insert their brands in children’s lives in ways that were inconceivable just a few decades ago.  Taking unfair advantage of children’s developmental inability to understand the persuasive intent of advertising messages, unregulated marketing is training children to be consumers rather than healthy, well-rounded citizens. Many parents felt strongly enough about the commercialization of their children’s lives that they added their own personal appeals to the letter. 

CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn, psychologist at Judge Baker Children's Center and Harvard Medical School, said “The President rightly observes that media can be beneficial to children.  But media and marketing also contribute to what he calls, an ‘overall coarsening of our culture.’ We hope that having a President who understands, firsthand, the struggle to raise healthy children in a commercialized culture means that parents can finally expect some help.”

“The limited resources of hard-working moms and dads are no match for multi-billion dollar marketers,” says fathering author and CCFC supporter Joe Kelly. “Their rapidly evolving technologies bypass parents and educators to target children directly on TV, the Web, cell phones, videogames, and even at school.”

“Marketing to children is an intrinsic part of the culture of greed that is at the root of the current economic crisis,” according to Enola Aird, JD, of Mothers for a Human Future. “If we are to replace the culture of greed with a more balanced approach to the economy – and, indeed, to life itself – we must rescue our children from the excesses of marketing.”

To read the petition please go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/t/6725/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1935.  To read excerpts of personal appeals from parents please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/obamaquotes.html.

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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 among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC is a project of Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org).

 



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