150% Surge in Children's Television Viewing During Summer Is Focus of New Campaign

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Smart Television Alliance launches "OutSmart the Summer Spike!" Campaign, calling on parents and caregivers to take control of children's TV and make smart television viewing choices.

Television can be a powerful tool to educate, inspire and entertain children when we make smart choices.

Today, the Smart Television Alliance (STA) announced the "OutSmart the Summer Spike!" campaign with a call to action for busy parents and caregivers to use technology to control what television children watch, to make smart viewing choices, and to promote a balanced media diet. Children's television viewing during the summer increases 150 percent according to analysis of Nielsen audience measurement data compared to the rest of the year.

The Smart Television Alliance is a new coalition of leading nonprofit organizations representing diverse constituencies from parents and caregivers to educators and nurses. In addition to promoting children's shows recommended by experts and educating parents to use technology to control what is seen in their homes, the STA is united in calling on television content producers to make more children's programming that is educational, entertaining, age-appropriate and safe. Collectively, the STA reaches millions of American households.

"This summer, we are encouraging healthy TV consumption by children--not just more time in front of the TV," said Reg Weaver, President of the National Education Association and co-chair of the STA. "Television can be a powerful tool to educate, inspire and entertain children when we make smart choices."

"With kids out of school, parents and caregivers are desperate for constructive activities for their children," said Susan Scanlan, STA co-chair and the Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations. Scanlan added "The OutSmart the Summer Spike! Campaign will feature Daily Tips to use television programming to promote learning."

"As parents and caregivers face the challenge of balancing work and family life, we want to remind them how easy it is to use television programming as a springboard for learning. The shows that we have recommended offer pro-social and cognitive lessons that can be absorbed both during and after viewing," said Ranny Levy, President of KIDSFIRST!, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to evaluating children's media and promoting quality content.

Cheryl Leanza, Director of the Office of Communications Inc. of the United Church of Christ, added, "The first step is realizing this is a time when many kids begin to view more television, and making a commitment to not allow summer TV viewing to escalate. If your kids do watch television, finding quality programming using advanced technology can be a helpful tool. We can no longer allow summer to be a time when learning stops."

Key components of the campaign include:

  • Providing parents and caregivers with resources and action steps to control what is watched on television and when
  • Distributing an online petition to television producers calling on them to produce more high quality, educational programming for young children
  • Enlisting parents and others to spread the word to their friends and acquaintances
  • Placing public service banner messages across the Internet
  • Publishing Daily Tips from experts and those submitted on Smart Television Alliance from parents and caregivers
  • Publishing Teachable Moments within television shows submitted online by educators across the country
  • Partnering with the producers of expert-recommended shows to highlight educational programming
  • Providing children's television recommendations from trusted media experts like KIDSFIRST!, Common Sense Media, and the Parents' Choice Foundation, among others.

Scanlan praised TiVo Inc. for being a sponsor of the STA and for helping all families identify and manage television and online media content in their homes, regardless of whether they are TiVo subscribers or not.

For images:

STA logo:

OutSmart the Summer Spike: http://www.smarttelevisionalliance.org/images/content/pagebuilder/11421.jpg

About Smart Television Alliance (STA)
The Smart Television Alliance is a new coalition of national nonprofit organizations united by a shared commitment to improving what our nation's children watch on television. Our mission is to help parents and caregivers use technology, online tools, and program recommendations from trusted children's media experts to make smart television viewing choices. By promoting the viewing of educational and informational programming, STA will build a market for more high quality children's TV shows.
Smart Television Alliance Web Site

About National Education Association (NEA)
The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
National Education Association Web Site

About National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)
The National Council of Women's Organizations is a nonpartisan, nonprofit umbrella organization of women's groups that collectively represent over eleven million women across the United States. The only national coalition of its kind, NCWO is a tax-exempt organization with twenty years' experience uniting American women's groups.
National Council of Women's Organizations Web Site


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Christopher Turman

Staci Maiers
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