President Obama Worries About Commercialism of Childhood Too!

President Obama is a Parent Too
By The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

“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.” -President Barack Obama

For those of us concerned about the commercialism of childhood, it’s a boon to have a president who is raising young children. Like parents everywhere, President Obama worries about the steady stream of commercial messages that sexualize children, glorify violence, promote unhealthy eating, and encourage materialism. Indeed, the President has observed that the media and marketing industries have contributed to an “overall coarsening of our culture” and has expressed concerns about the content of ads during children’s shows and family programming. (We wonder if he saw Burger King’s infamous SpongeBob SquareButts ad.) That’s why we’re launching a campaign – bookended by Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – urging President Obama to use the power of his office to protect our children from an onslaught of marketing that undermines good parenting and hurts young people.

Since the 1980s, when children’s television programming was deregulated and Congress restricted the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to regulate marketing to children, corporations have waged a campaign of “cradle to grave” marketing to train children to be loyal consumers for life. The limited resources of hard-working mothers and fathers are no match for multi-billion dollar industries using rapidly evolving technologies to bypass parents and target children directly, not just on television, but through the internet, cell phones, mp3 players, videogames, and even in schools.

That’s why we’re calling on the Obama administration to direct the FTC and Federal Communications Commission to evaluate their current policies and regulations to determine whether or not they provide adequate protection for 21st century families. Such an examination – which should include a thorough investigation of the depth and breadth of marketing to children including new trends in immersive and interactive advertising – will give policymakers the information necessary to evaluate whether our current system of regulation is working and provide parents with invaluable information.

Please click here to urge President Obama to help parents protect their children from corporate marketers.

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