For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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

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

WASHINGTON - “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.”

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“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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