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August 1, 2007 

 

Contact: Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)   

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 Nation’s Strongest School Commercialism Bill Advances Out of Committee

CCFC Lauds Joint Committee on Public Health

 

BOSTON – The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) lauded the Massachusetts’s Joint Committee on Public Health for recommending approval of the nation’s strongest school commercialism bill.  H. 489, An Act Relative to the Public Health Impact of Commercialism in Schools, would prohibit advertising on public school grounds.

 

“We are pleased that the Committee recognizes the need for schools to be commercial-free zones that provide children with a much-needed safe-haven from the harmful marketing that permeates their lives,” said CCFC’s co-founder, Dr. Susan Linn.  “If passed, this legislation would place Massachusetts at the forefront of the growing movement to protect children from commercialism.  We hope that other states will follow suit.”

 

School-aged children are bombarded with advertisements. They see an average of nearly 30,000 commercials on television alone, and television is only one of the myriad ways children are exposed to advertising. While marketers spent $100 million annually in the early 1980s targeting children, they now spend approximately $17 billion. Marketing is known to be a factor in many childhood ills, including obesity, youth violence, precocious and irresponsible sexuality, eating disorders, family conflict, and increased materialism among youth.

 

In 2000, the U.S General Accounting Office identified marketing in schools as a growth industry.  Schools are an increasingly popular venue for companies to market their products to a captive audience of students as many cash-strapped school districts use advertising revenue in an attempt to plug budget gaps.  But research has shown that schools make little money from their participation in advertising, and that most schools’ programs would not be reduced if advertising were eliminated.  In Massachusetts, schoolchildren are exposed to advertising in their hallway, sports fields, and cafeterias, as well as through corporate-sponsored teaching materials and newscasts like Channel One.

 

Representative Peter Koutoujian’s “An Act Relative to the Public Health Impact of Commercialism in Schools,” would prohibit companies from advertising their products on public school grounds. It would also prohibit companies from providing any type of promotional items or gifts – other than their primary products – which bear the mark or brand name of the manufacturer’s products.

 

“We have our children in schools 6-8 hours a day and while they are in there, they are a captive audience. We should be using that precious learning time for education, not bombarding our children with ads,” Koutoujian said. “The tools schools should be using should involve blackboards - not billboards.”

 

Click here  for more information on the legislation.

Complete Text of the Legislation

 

Testimony and Letters of Support:

 

Elle Goldberg, Massachusetts PTA

 

Diane Levin, PhD, CCFC co-founder, and Professor of Education, Wheelock College

 

Susan Linn, EdD, CCFC co-founder, and author, Consuming Kids

 

Juliet Schor, author, Born to Buy, and Professor of Sociology, Boston College

 

Jason Smith, Public Health Advocacy Institute

Mary Ann Stewart, concerned parent, Lexington, Massachusetts

 

Lin Vickory, concerned parent and activist against Channel One, Lunenberg, Massachusetts

 

 

Press

 

 

 

Mass. lawmakers weigh ban on all marketing in schools

AP, 6/3/2007

 

Women take their fight against school ads to Boston

Worcester Star-Telegram, 5/31/07

 

 

 

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