Shaping Youth Co-Sponsors “Consuming Kids” Movie Premiere!

consuming-kids-movieApril 2, 2009 Academic rockstars are descending upon U.C. Berkeley April 24th, as CCFC leaders speak in person on the commercialization of childhood and the impact on our culture!

Shaping Youth is proud to be a media sponsor of the S.F. Bay Area Premiere of the movie Consuming Kids, and co-sponsor of this all-star panel in time for ‘spring cleaning’ 2009 to get rid of all this consumption!

Mark your calendars for April 24, 2009 on the U.C. Berkeley campus. (details and trailer after the jump)

Dr. Susan Linn and Dr. Allen Kanner, two pivotal thought leaders and child advocates on the impact of the commercialization of childhood will be IN PERSON as panelists for Q&A following the screening, moderated by Michele Simon, policy director of the alcohol watchdog group Marin Institute and author of one of  my favorite nutrition/media literacy resources, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health & How to Fight Back!

Shaping Youth is THRILLED to be a part of this S.F. Bay Area premiere event to sponsor their important work and get the word out to Bay Area educators, youth, advocates and families throughout the region.


As marketing colleagues get chills up their spine wondering if I’ve lost my mind advocating for a “commercial-free childhood,” I’ll reiterate what I said to CCFC when I conducted a workshop at their Sexualization of Childhood conference,

“It’s NOT a Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker saber war…there are AMAZINGLY POSITIVE things that can and should be leveraged with the power of media and marketing.”

To me it’s all about accountability and responsibility to do no harm, as Socrates would say…Yet industry has an ABYSMAL record in that department with kids by putting profiteering over public health, eroding the emotional and physical well-being of children.

I’m always given the ‘But we had marketing too’ argument…

“What’s the difference in kids’ marketing today; where’s the big deal?”
“Why all the power whining on poor nutritional value, sexism and consumerism run rampant? WE had junk food, sexy ads and even tobacco and liquor ads back then and we turned out ok,” etc. etc.

lookShort answer? Play the Consuming Kids movie trailer…you’ll see PLENTY of difference.

Dr. Susan Linn can cite the stats in her sleep; three decades ago corporations spent $100 million marketing to children. Now? We’re at $17 BILLION.

Advergaming, Mobile/social. Virtual worlds. Digital engagement. “DVD Ready” coded subliminal Tivo tricks. All in 24/7 surround sound. So is it just quantity? Nope. It’s the content that’s being served…

SY bratz CCFC body imageOnline games consistently hawk stuffing with ‘coinage and consumption’ play creating little consumers on training wheels…

All kinds of objectification slips under the radar under the guise of ‘fun’ and satire (as we wrote about here with custom body parts-n-billboards, viral tattoo placement, Miss Bimbo plastic surgery cues, bimbo dollars to keep the doll at her target weight using diet pills etc.)

Is it any wonder sexualization of teen health has evolved to this level of damage?

So even though we may not agree on everything, I see the growth and expansion of CCFC’s wild cross-section of consortium members (including people like me) is a strong signal that the cavalry is coming to set things right…

I’m encouraged meeting tons of whip-smart doctoral candidates and professors that look like kids themselves, who know how to embrace the digital space without abusing it

I’m excited to see so many digital futurists and virtual world educators enroll kids themselves to embrace the positive, ditch the negative, and help kids be kids with informal learning fun…

I’m seeing more participatory collaboration, collective knowledge and team building, embedding eco-messages in quests…even online to offline bridges to reconnect kids with the outdoors, completely unplugged.

In fact, I see CCFC itself changing, as the last summit where I spoke was the first time where I felt a sense of hope and promise trumped frustration.

consuming-kids.jpgGaming researchers and online community pros are stepping in to help the public take back the internet from the data miners and profiteers out to sell kids’ souls for a buck…They’re looking at safety loopholes and media literacy savvy. Seeing how to ‘fight fire with fire’ in productive new ways to impart Health 2.0 knowledge via  mobile methods, widgets, social networks and more…

Meanwhile, Consuming Kids (the book and the movie!) eloquently (and humorously) taps right into the heart of the problem, as a MUST SEE for all who just ‘don’t get it.’

The movie explores the huge cognitive difference between adults and early child development in a way that makes perfect sense…

AND with much more measured reason than I myself can muster when I see an injustice landing on kids and attack it with tenacious vigor as a passionista. So all my pals that find CCFC too extreme? Clearly you haven’t seen me get in ‘mother bear’ mode, I guess.

clapboardThe power of play and the need for balance is sorely lacking out there…so I urge you ALL to join me in supporting this vital film and the red carpet panel of thought leaders in person.

And yes, I love that they’ve used MEDIA to deliver the message…I’ll be MARKETING their work far and wide. See you there…

April 24, 2009 Screening of Consuming Kids 7pm: FREE!

Co-Sponsored by Shaping Youth

Panelists Include:

Susan Linn, EdD, Director and Co-founder of CCFC

susan-linn.jpgSusan Linn, is co-founder and director of The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and a psychologist at Judge Baker Children’s Center and Harvard Medical School.

An award-winning producer, writer, and puppeteer, she is the author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, and Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood and lectures internationally on reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers.

A few Shaping Youth posts about Susan Linn’s vital work:

The Value of Unstructured Play

The Case for Make-Believe Part One

Defending Pretending: The Need for Prominent Play: Part 2

Generation Digital MIT Review &  Six Degress of Susan Linn

Susan Linn: $17 Billion Spent on Marketing to Kids


Related: Interview with Susan Linn, by Lisa Ray

Allen Kanner, PhD, Co-founder of CCFC

allen-kannerDr. Allen D. Kanner is a Berkeley child, family, couples, and adult psychologist and a co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

His work includes consulting with parents on how to counter the harmful effects of advertising on their children. Allen has co-edited two books, Psychology and Consumer Culture and Ecopsychology. In 1997, Utne Reader chose him as one of the nation’s ten leading psychotherapist activists. Currently he is writing a column for Tikkun magazine on the corporatized society.

Moderated by: Michele Simon JD, MPH, CCFC Steering  Committee

michele-simonMichele Simon is a public health lawyer specializing in policy analysis, legal strategies, and countering corporate tactics. With 12 years of experience researching and writing about the food industry, Ms. Simon is the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back.

Ms. Simon is a regular speaker on both food and alcohol policy at various national and international conferences. Her recent areas of research include the failure of self-regulation and corporate lobbying that undermines public health.  Ms. Simon received her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and her master’s degree in public health from Yale University.

Don’t miss this important screening of Consuming Kids (trailer below!)

AND…The opportunity to be a part of the conversation with two of the country’s most respected leaders in the field of psychology and childrens’ advocacy!!

Again, April 24, 2009 at Cal Berkeley with media sponsorship by Shaping Youth!

Update: ADDED screening on the peninsula (with Dr. Susan Linn on April 28, 20097:30-9pm at Cubberly Community Theater, 4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto)

bap-logo-360x141Shaping Youth Advisory Board members from Bay Area Parent Magazine and Childhood Matters Green Radio, 960AM will help us get the word out, and we’ll soon announce the order of our upcoming slate of films for summer/evening fun…

childhood-mattersHere’s a preview of the new Consuming Kids movie below, along with the Consuming Kids study guide, perfect for deconstruction and media literacy eye-openers.

p.s. Update 4-3-09 Here’s a fresh new piece about commodifying kids on the TruthOut blog today…perfect timing!

And here’s what people are saying about the film and the details/map:

A screening of Consuming Kids:  The Commercialization of Childhood
April 24, 2009 at 7:00 PM
(seating is limited; early arrival is suggested)
101 Morgan
UC Berkeley Campus

(click here for a campus map and parking directions)
Free! (donations to CCFC appreciated)

Praise for Consuming Kids, the Film

“This powerful, disturbing and heartbreaking film has the power to change the way we Americans treat our children. It is the best possible parent education product. I recommend it to schools, universities, churches, mosques and synagogues.”
– Mary Pipher | Author, Reviving Ophelia

Consuming Kids is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, and anyone wanting to foster children’s well-being. This film will be opening eyes and sparking discussion in psychology, media and cultural studies, sociology, health, and economics classrooms for years to come. As a professor of media and children’s culture, and as a parent, this is the film I’ve been waiting for.”
– Lynn Phillips | Author, Flirting with Danger: Young Women’s Reflections on Sexuality and Domination

“Like never before, children today are plagued by a variety of ills, from violence to hyper-sexualization to obesity to rampant materialism. Consuming Kids connects these dots, showing how these problems all relate back to corporate marketers preying on our children for profit. Watching this movie will open the eyes of everyone who cares about children to the disturbing new realities of our consumer culture.”
– Tim Kasser | Associate Professor of Psychology | Knox College | Author, The High Price of Materialism

Consuming Kids Video Trailer

We’ll continue with screenings of other important films and feature all-star panelists like the filmmakers of Going on 13(right here in the S.F. Bay area) very soon…

Stay tuned! The films are all FREE and pack a powerful punch for insights into youth culture and media/marketing’s implicit role in the need to create healthier messaging and a brighter worldview for kids. We MUST use the power of media for positive change…for with power comes profound responsibility.

If you’d like to screen Consuming Kids in your region, visit: Media Education Foundation to purchase screening rights for nonprofit small group media education events!

Related posts on Shaping Youth:

Can Somethin’ Be Done About All This Consumption?

Seeding Green With Richard Louv

Shaping Youth Through Nature, Media Unplugged


If Kids Could Be Dolphins: The Power of Creative Play


Media Savvy Kids and Nature Deficit Disorder

The Nature of Tweens: Wired Worlds & Outdoor Ed


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