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www.tvSmarter.com – Life in a TV Nation


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CCFC – The Mouse That Roared

Baby Einstein by khara
Baby Einstein, a photo by khara on Flickr.

Walt Disney is a multi-billion dollar mega-corporation, and according to Wikipedia “It is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue.” Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), on the other hand, is a tiny multi-thousand dollar non-profit who took on Walt Disney… and won.

“Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses. They may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect. “We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been pushing the issue for years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html?_r=1

And it didn’t take long for Disney to take it’s revenge:

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Screen-Free Week Feedback


I should have posted this earlier, but here is some of the excellent feedback that CCFC received after the 2012 Screen-Free Week:

“It was WONDERFUL! We are vowing screen-free afternoons for as long as we can do it . . . fewer meltdowns and a happier family!!”


“It was refreshing. I got more sleep ( . . . and realized I am too much of a slave to staying on top of FB and Twitter) . . . . we dusted off “Clue” and “Trouble” instead of watching a movie during family time . . . the boys chatted with us (and each other) a bit more and spontaneously practiced the piano (perhaps a first . . . ). I think our younger son “detoxed” because he had fewer emotional outbursts. We did notice how “screens” are so woven into our everyday lives, and we needed to use the computer and iPad for work and research—but even this recognition was useful.”


“I’m planning on doing this at least every season! I finished so many neglected projects!”
“What a great screen-free week! I enjoyed distraction-free conversation with my family, more time outdoors, finding fun things to do in my community, and caught up on reading my Alaska Magazine. I will be seriously cutting my screen time from now on. I challenged my kindergarten class to do the same with their families and heard about the great things they are doing instead. Great week!”


“I can honestly say it was one of the most connecting weeks I’ve ever spent with my son (almost 4) since he was born. We did SO much fun stuff together. Overall, I just felt so much more in the moment than I normally find myself. And I know Lucas actually enjoyed it . . . when I told him yesterday we had come to the end of our week, he asked me if we could keep doing it. Going to try to take some of the changes we made and apply them long-term on a daily basis.”

From http://www.facebook.com/screenfreeweek

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Screen-Free Week 2012 – Upcoming Events

Children playing by Pawel Maciejewski
Children playing, a photo by Pawel Maciejewski on Flickr.

Wow, CCFC has done a masterful job getting the word out on Screen-Free week.

Here is their list of upcoming Screen-Free events:

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/salsa/event/common/public/index.sjs?distributed_event_KEY=660

From their email, a sample includes:

– Read Boston has asked 4,000 students in 12 partner schools to take the screen-free pledge! Children who return their tracking logs after break will receive a prize pack with items that promote fun (and learning) without screens.

– Screen-Free Kansas City and the Early Years Institute in Long Island have both partnered with local businesses to offer discounted and free fun activities every day of Screen-Free Week!

– Unplug and Play in Bozeman, Montana has organized daily events including free admission to the Museum of the Rockies, a Bike Rodeo, and Family Science Night at the Children’s Museum.

– Portland (Oregon) Parks and Recreation and Kaiser Permanente are offering activities including a tea party for young children, Family Game Night, and Messy Art!

Plus, here are some of the excellent blog posts on accepting the Screen-Free week challenge:

 

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Screen-Free Week – 2012 – April 30 to May 6

Screen-Free Week – April 30 to May 6

The 2012 Screen-Free week is coming up – April 30 to May 6

Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood now has free organizing kits available for anyone interested in organizing Screen-Free activities (or who are just curious). Click here to go to their download page and the pdf will be emailed to you.

Later on, the CCFC will have a list of Screen-Free Week activities around the country, and you will be able to see what is going on in your community.

I read through their organizing pdf “Screen-Free Organizers’ Kit” and was very impressed with what they have put together. Which includes:

– Inspiring quotes from previous Screen-Free weeks (including an excellent quote from President Obama).

– Reproducible Fact sheets to give out when organizing (and during) your Screen-Free Week activities. Includes a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Fact Sheet.

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2010 Spring Turn-off Week April 19-25

Play II

Originally uploaded by ali khurshid

According to the latest Kaiser study (released Jan 2010)

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

Children 8-18 are spending, on average:

(From Page 2)

4:29 hours per day watching TV
4:54 hours per day watching TV/movies
7:38 hours per day plugged into media (TV, movies, music, computer, video games, print)

These statistics mind-boggling, 7:37 hours plugged into media, of which almost 5 hours per day are spent watching TV/movies. Children are being systematically turned into addicts.

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Baby Einstein Refunds

Congratulations to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) !

Note: for a list of studies looking at the effects of TV on very young children see: http://www.tvsmarter.com/documents/young.html

CCFC successfully pressured “the Walt Disney Company to offer a full refund to anyone who purchased a Baby Einstein DVD in the last five years.”

This is in addition to their “2006 Federal Trade Commission complaint” which forced Disney to stop making false claims that Baby Einstein DVDs were educational.

From The New York Times article on the Baby Einstein Refunds:

Last year, lawyers threatened a class-action lawsuit for unfair and deceptive practices unless Disney agreed to refund the full purchase price to all who bought the videos since 2004. “The Walt Disney Company’s entire Baby Einstein marketing regime is based on express and implied claims that their videos are educational and beneficial for early childhood development,” a letter from the lawyers said, calling those claims “false because research shows that television viewing is potentially harmful for very young children.”

Perhaps “Baby Einstein” should be renamed “Baby Bozo” !

But it was the comments that were the most fun, here are a few that I especially liked:

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