The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Josh Golin

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 children have fewer safeguards to protect them than they did in the

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 "We
hope the President, as father, takes some real steps to relieve
marketing's assault on children and families."

Fairplay, formerly known as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, educates the public about commercialism's impact on kids' wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing. Fairplay organizes parents to hold corporations accountable for their marketing practices, advocates for policies to protect kids, and works with parents and professionals to reduce children's screen time.