the KIDS FIRST!®Home Page
The Newsstand -What's
CQCM Newsletter Summer 1998
CQCM Newsletter Winter 1998
CQCM Newsletter Fall
CQCM Newsletter Summer
I'm Scared!: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can
Do To Protect Them.
Joanne Cantor, PH.D
Harcourt Brace and Company. 1998
Excellent new book, Cantor thoroughly examines the affects of
children's television shows and videos on children of various
ages. Of particular interest is her examination of the TV and
Movie Rating Systems and her outstanding suggestions for helping
parents deal with the fears of all age children.
REVIEWS ON KIDSFIRST! - ENDORSED TITLES
FIRST! provides monthly reviews of endorsed titles for more
than fifty parenting publications nationwide, from New York
Family Magazine to Bay Area Parent! These reviews are provided
FREE OF CHARGE, serving CQCM's mission to make quality media
more visible. Let your local parenting publication know about
this service from KIDS FIRST!® And to all the publications
we're working with, thank you for helping spread the word.
VIDEO SUPPORTS KIDS FIRST!®
Video, the nations second largest video chain, will publish
reviews provided by KIDSFIRST! in their new in-store
publication launching in July. With over 400,000 customers
visiting an established Hollywood Video store each year, and with
over 1,300 stores across the country, millions of parents and kids
visiting any Hollywood Video store can easily find information on
KIDS FIRST!® - adult-approved, kid-tested titles. ( We'd like
to remind producers to submit their titles 30-60 days before their
street date to allow time for evaluations to be completed.)
PREFER QUALITY, EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS OVER TV
National Association of Independent Childrens Video
Producers recently released a survey showing 52.2% of parents
prefer their children watch childrens videos. Parents also
indicated an equally strong preference for video programs with
educational content. Marcela Davison Aviles, President of NAICVP
and CEO of independent distributor Blackboard Entertainment, says:
"Parents are telling us broadcast programming is increasingly less
desirable. Moreover, we believe todays parents are more
sophisticated consumers and users of childrens videos. They
strongly regulate how their children consume content, and
theyll go out of their way to find quality video
five delegates participated in CQCMs Annual Meeting
in Santa Fe, April 16-April 18. The board approved
Megs Gifts, CQCM's program donating videos and
CD-ROMs to children's hospitals and related institutions,
as a core program and targeted it for expansion in 1998.
The delegates recommended launching an initiative
engaging non-entertainment corporations as sponsors of
community-based initiatives that would provide
KIDSFIRST! endorsed videos to public facilities
such as hospitals, public libraries and day care centers.
CQCM Honors Dr. Ed Palmer
Honors Dr. Ed Palmer,
Chair, CQCMs National Board
and former Director of Research, Childrens
the newly established "Palmer-Vision" Award. Named for
Dr. Palmer, this award exemplifies his caring, expertise,
wisdom and most importantly, his vision for
childrens educational programming. Combining
education with entertainment; developing program design
techniques that actively engage the intellectual and
emotional participation of the viewer/learner; and
creating educational equity for ethnic minorities and
children from low-income circumstances - all are part of
Palmer-Vision. We thank Dr. Palmer for his generous words
about the Coalition: [CQCM] stands as an
oasis in the wasteland that commercial TV always has
been. It is the best system ever designed - by far - for
allowing and facilitating an effective screening role for
parents. Perhaps it even encourages a generalized habit
of parental selectivity. It makes programs available by
subject matter categories, and, of course, because it is
videotape, these programs are available on
you visit our home
you can hear KIDSFIRST!
online. Conci Althouse, age nine, reviews newly endorsed titles
and gives feedback from both our adult and child Jurors. We'd like
to thank all the folks who take time to fill out our website
feedback form. You help us improve and expand our site by beta
testing it on a variety of computers, browsers, etc. CQCM's
website clocked over 115,000 hits in the last four weeks - a
record! Average User Session Length - 5 min, 55 seconds - up a
full minute from last month is another record!
from KIDS FIRST!®web site visitor feedback:
that care about what their children see and hear during a
movie MUST visit your site and use your services. I am quite
selective and wondered how I could find from such a vast
selection (mostly garbage) the most worthwhile movies that
are interesting, fun, imaginative, and sensitive to the
developmental stage of a toddler. KIDS FIRST is the answer.
- S. Engst
My 3 year
old son"loves" to work on the computer and my husband &
I encourage the use of educational CDs. However, with so
many CDs on the market it's difficult at best to determine
which ones to purchase. We've made some good selections and
some bad selections in the past, but now that I have
reviewed your web site, I know what to look for in the
future. Thanks so much!! - S. Stough
to know that the products that you have are ones that a
healthy for kids and recommended by them and their parents.
I hate purchasing cd's, videos, and music to find out that
it wasn't what I wanted for my children. - C. Neff
I am just
beginning to homeschool and was interested in finding ways
to teach besides textbooks. This site is great!! I haven't
looked completely thru it but what I have seen is very
helpful. I will be back!!! - J. Metlock
informative website. This was my first time visiting... I
will come back for sure! - L. Lorentzen
marked this site because I felt it was a good resource to
refer back to time and time again. - J Foringer
been looking for a recommended video list for children and I
was pleased when I stumbled onto your site. I found more
information than I needed - all very helpful. - S.
I think it
is wonderful that an organization is so concerned about what
children view on TV, video and computers. - L. Ragone
was so glad to find out about this organization. I am an
educator of young children and I am constantly watching how
my young preschoolers are acting out their favorite tv show,
and it of course is violent, shooting guns, fighting, and
usually not conveying good messages! I am surprised at what
kinds of poor quality programming and software that is
available to children. I enjoyed browsing through your web
page, and I was pleased with your commitment in your mission
statement to, "enhance children's viewing...quality
children's media..." Quality media is what we need, and I am
glad to learn about your organization so that I can learn
how I can become a positive charge for the same beliefs. -
I, as a
parent and a grandparent am very happy to see not only is
there Disney to help our children but a real KIDS
FIRST! page! Just for the "Wee" Folk! I wish there
were even more things for children free; in this wide
happening and no-room for children world we live in; we sure
need help in every way we can receive it. Our children are
our Hearts, and they are Our Leaders of Tomorrow! But; it is
so easy for so many to leave them out. I hope that through
your help and so many others we can finally have help for
our little ones by just clicking on our web page of KIDS
FIRST! and let the Fun Begin! Thanks again. - N
I was very
impressed with the collection and selection of videos and
programs included in the list I viewed online. It is a
relief to find organizations like yourself taking a stand
for the quality of children's programming and keeping
parents like myself informed as to the changes in programs
available. - P Coffey
attractive site that I found through Netscape Center. Thanks
for using the Internet medium to help parents and
grandparents (like me) to find quality products for our
previous ones. - C RAY CARLSON
I have two
small chlidren and am trying to make sure they have quality
learning/entertainment experiences. - P Noakes
pleased to see a web site like this so Grammas like me can
see what is good plus entertaining for kids. - R
KIDS FIRST, I am a grandmother of 3 children, all toddlers.
I have just discovered your site as I am beginning to search
for recommended lists of children's videos Have had
difficulty finding non-violent, non spastic vidoes that open
up the world for these curious children. I look forward to
hearing from you. - sigrid rainoff
HURRAH FOR "THE ALL NEW CAPTAIN KANGAROO"
August 17, the Fox Family Channel will run the "All New Captain
Kangaroo Show" daily, Monday- Friday at 11:00 am as part of two
hours of programming called the Treasure House. CQCM has previewed
and endorsed all six segments of the "All New Captain Kangaroo"
that have been released in home video.
The "All New
Captain Kangaroo" has the right blend of new and old. Fox has done
a great job recreating some of the wonderful qualities of the
original program still near and dear to many of us. The show
begins with the old Treasure House theme that many of us grew up
with (we were magically transported back to childhood with just
those first few notes) and takes a gentle, fun jump to a more
rousing, cheery singalong.
The new theme
asks Have you seen the Captain Kangaroo? And, what a
Captain he is! In the words of co-producer, George Taweel,
McDonough successfully embodies the spirit we have all come
to know, love, and desire from Captain Kangaroo and has made it
his own. Strong, caring, gentle, soft spoken and funny, he
has a kindness that comes through the screen and a strength that
keeps all the characters in the Treasure House on an even keel.
With his rotund appearance and his wonderful beard, he reminds us
of an old sea captain, sailing into a new adventure with every
show. A five year old Juror who evaluated one of the new programs
told his dad (who wrote us): Captain Kangaroo is
twinkly! Adult Jurors also approved, and one commented:
The Captain has a good attitude and great way with kids. He
laughs a lot instead of getting angry. He provides an excellent
role model. So often kids today see angry, smart alecky defensive
responses. The Captain even explained to us why he is called
Captain Kangaroo. (Big kangaroo pockets, remember?)
just the first of many pluses. The traditional characters we grew
up with are still there. Mr. Greenjeans still gardens. Mr. Moose
is still headstrong, goofy, and lovable. Bunny Rabbit still wears
glasses and loves carrots. Grandfather Clock shares anew his
sleepy rhymes and riddles and occasionally speaks French and
Spanish! What a treat it is to gently help the Captain wake the
old clock just like we did years ago. Added to this familiar
group, we now have Joey, a tinkerer who loves to fix things and
Copernicus P. Digit, an online cartoon character who connects us
to the cyberworld.
In the new
Captain Kangaroo, each show centers around a theme such as
friendship, cooperation, sharing. Everything in the show
compliments the theme of the day including storylines, characters,
songs, and readalouds. Story Corner, that lovely time when Captain
sits down and reads to us, also highlights the theme. We were
pleased with the interesting, and unobtrusive sound effects that
accompany Captains reading, his slow pace, and his
delightful voice. We were equally pleased with the stimulating
vocabulary he uses. Words werent dumbed down for kids - and
when the Captain used a particularly challenging word, he explains
to his listeners what that word means. We also sing! In one
episode, when Bunny Rabbit sulks, Mr. Moose begins singing
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean and is soon joined by
all in the Treasure House. It was a lovely repetitive song that we
are sure children will enjoy hearing again. Captain, lets
see the readaloud title again briefly after the story. Parents may
want to purchase or borrow from the library a book you read to the
little ones so they can read it again at home.
Captain Kangaroo emphasized animals. The new show is linked to
Busch Gardens whose expertise is apparent from the gorgeous animal
videos to the knowledgeable staff--seen most often in regulars
Chuck Cureau and Margo McKnight, animal experts from Busch Gardens
Animal Park. Lets hope this is just the beginning of women
and people of color in and about the Treasure House. Not only are
the Busch Gardens' segments beautifully done, they are accompanied
by soothing music, songs, and great environmental information,
including messages of global concern. Like the entire show, they
are well paced and create a pleasant atmosphere. All of our child
Jurors - ranging in age from 3-8 loved the live animal segments.
We enjoyed the
meaningful themes that brought a cohesiveness to the show, but we
found some of the moral issues to be beyond the comprehension
level of the youngest viewers. (The tapes we previewed were
recommended for ages 2-5). In the words of Dr. Ed Palmer, based on
his nineteen years as head of research for Childrens
Television Workshop: Children under four may have difficulty
conceptualizing complex themes. When you are 2, 3, or 4 years old
its hard to follow a moral storyline or logic. Very young
children dont understand the moral dilemma. We agree.
The entertainment part of Captain Kangaroo works for young kids.
The pace is slow, the music soothing. The substance, however, such
as learning to share, be responsible, telling the truth, and
following directions is more sophisticated and geared for an older
audience (ages 5-8). Co-producer George Taweel responded to Dr.
Palmers concerns, explaining his opinion that preschool
shows often include larger audiences and older siblings. Little
kids learn by seeing and doing. Taweel hopes that as children grow
up with this show, they will come to understand the lessons
offered by the "All New Captain Kangaroo." KIDS FIRST!®
recommends an age range of 3 to 8, based on entertainment and
complaint about the All New Captain Kangaroo, one that was also
echoed in adult Juror comments, is the dropping of ping pong balls
on Captains head. One adult Juror asked: Whats
with the ping pong balls? That was weird." We agree. On a show
targeted for pre-schoolers, it's inappropriate. Interestingly,
right after the ball dropping in one episode, the Captain exhorts
us, his audience, to be kind to each other. Knock
knock jokes are fun, but let's bring the "All New Captain
Kangaroo" into the compassionate nineties and have something fun
happen to all the characters after the joke, not just the Captain.
Ping-pong balls aside, Jurors agreed that the show exudes positive
social behaviors respectful of children and adults alike.
The FCC has
mandated networks to provide at least three hours of educational
programming for children on a weekly basis. If this is a sampling
of what is to come, parents can breathe a sigh of relief. The "All
New Captain Kangaroo" is a great model meeting educational
requirements and entertaining kids at the same time.
HAVE THE NEW FCC RULES IMPROVED CHILDREN'S TV?
Annenberg Public Policy Center released three reports on
childrens television at their June conference in Washington,
DC. Highlights included an analysis of over 1,000 programs for
children on broadcast and cable television indicating program
quality has not improved in the past year. According to The 1998
State of Childrens Television Report: Shows rated as
high quality by the Annenberg research team accounted
for 36.4% of the programs studied, down 3% from 1997. The
report found that on-screen identifiers, whether the ratings or
the E/I icon identifying educational programs, are not reliable
guides for parents. According to the study, 25% of the shows
marked E/I (educational and informational) by
broadcasters were of minimal educational value. More importantly,
understanding of the E/I symbol is extremely low among
parents, with only 9.1% identifying it as an indicator that a
program is educational or informational for children. If
parents are to trust the ratings and educational labels, they must
be reliable, says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director of the
national survey, "Television in the Home 1998", found that
parents opinions about the quality of television
available for their children remains low." A third report, Latino
American Preschoolers and the Media, examines the uses of media by
Latino American preschoolers, based on interviews with mothers in
Northern California. The report identifies a lack of Latino
positive role models.
Public Policy Center awarded Fred Rogers, host of PBS Mister
Rogers Neighborhoodfor over 30 years, its Award for
Distinguished Contribution to Children and Television. Mr. Rogers
reported his recent encounter with a gorilla who (he was told)
grew up watching his show. Upon meeting Mr. Rogers the gorilla was
interested in removing the gentlemans shoes. (Mr. Rogers had
not worn his traditional slippers to his meeting with the
gorilla.) Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of
Pennsylvania, Washington DC, phone: 202-879-6700;
In the past year, over 35,000 copies of the KIDS
FIRST!ª Directory have sold and/or disseminated through
sponsorship. We wish to thank the Memorial Foundation in Nashville
for its support and the Educational Foundation of America. We have
fewer than than 10,000 copies left.
CQCM's most recent edition of its
KIDS FIRST!®Directory is now
The new 68 page, four-color
directory describes over 700 KIDS FIRST!®endorsed
videos and CD-ROMs, includingJuror comments and expert
guidelines from child development specialists, educators,
parents and kids.
To order your copy for
shipping and handling).
Call 1-505-989-8076 or
order on-line today!
a check or money order to CQCM at 112 W. San Francisco
St., Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501
BECOME A MEMBER
for Quality Childrens Media is not just an organization that
evaluates childrens media, it is a resource center, a
clearing-house for childrens media; a clearinghouse helping
parents and kids find good programming thats adult approved
of the Coalitions pro- active materials on quality media
public recognition of quality childrens media
that serve children and families
programs for hospitalized children and families
advocacy for children and families
$25/yr: Individual/Family Membership - Benefits:
- Free 64
page, color KIDS FIRST!® Directory
to CQCMs Newsletter
updates on new endorsements via email (upon
- Discounts on
subscriptions, videotapes, CD-ROMs and other
Adult-approved and kid-tested!
What does a KIDS FIRST!® endorsement mean?
title meets or exceeds the following baseline criteria:
gratuitous violence or sexual behavior;
physical or verbal abuse;
- NO bias
in terms of race, gender, culture or religion;
condescension toward children and
- NO unsafe
behaviors. Each title has been carefully evaluated by our
national jury of adults and children.
Where can you get more information about KIDS FIRST!® - endorsed
up to date information is available on CQCMs website.
Included: title description, a summary of Juror comments and age
recommendation. Educational merits, social benefits and
entertainment value are identified.
Where can I find a KIDS FIRST!® Title?
available at your local video retailer or rental store. The Video
Learning Library , 1-800-383-8811, ext 425, carries most KIDS
FIRST! - endorsed titles and is happy to special order
programs not in stock.
BABIES NEED WHOLE PEOPLE
Dr. Irving Lazar
It was, perhaps,
inevitable, that the video industry would turn their attention to
infants. Video has become the de facto baby-sitting tool of many
providers of child care, and there are, in fact, some
educationally worthwhile videos for preschoolers and the
elementary school years.
By the age of
four, most kids can differentiate between "real" and
"make-believe," have a sufficient repertoire of words and
experiences to place pictorial stories in contexts, and know how
to turn the machine off and walk away from it. The situation with
infants is quite different. While the infant's mind is not exactly
a blank slate at birth, it is pretty close to being one. Current
estimates are that only about fifteen percent of the brain is
"hard-wired" at birth. Most of the connections are there to permit
simple physical survival. Some learning has taken place before
birth. For example, the infant can already recognize mother's
voice, though not any other voices. While the brain sorts the
visual elements of an experience to one place, and the auditory
components somewhere else, the baby receives experience as a
whole, and the parts are not disconnected from each other as they
are filed away. When an experience is "filed," its elements are
connected by a network of nerve cells. If an experience stimulates
all of the baby's senses, then a network reaching all of the parts
of the brain that interpret sensation is formed. Obviously, the
wider the net, the more ways the baby will have to access
(remember) that event, and the more likely it is that the event is
able to be related to other events. Indeed, a major part of what
happens in the first year of life is the construction of the
brain's filing system. . . the set of categories that will
determine how future experiences are filed, are related to other
experiences, and are available for recall. As the neural networks
interact with each other, experiences can be related to each
The more complex
the networks, the more ways there are for such relationships, and
the more likely is the child to make those new connections we call
"creative." What all this means is that the more multi- sensory an
experience, the more widely is it filed and the more readily will
it be recalled. So what are these multi-sensory experiences like?
Listening to Bach or Mozart or the Beatles from a recording is
only stimulating one sense, hearing, and does not promote network
Watching a video
only stimulates sight and sound. Not much of a network structure
there. What's a rich experience look like? Well, the perfect one
is a mother breast feeding her baby. Touch, taste, smell, motion,
hearing, sight, and pressure are all combined into a single
pleasurable experience. Indeed, we seem to need to repeat the
tragic demonstrations that failure to have sufficient direct
physical contact with a consistent set of caregivers results in
permanent damage to infants. We closed infant orphanages in the
United States half a century ago because research demonstrated the
irreversible, terrible effects of the deprivation of continuous
human contact on infants. The results of orphanage care for
Roumanian infants reaffirmed those earlier findings. Babies need
human contact, and they learn from complex human interaction in
settings that are rich in stimuli for all the senses. Rich does
not mean overwhelming; it means complexity and
seen a bunch of videos aimed at babies. Some simply show lots of
pictures of other babies, since babies usually pay attention to
novelty. Since an infant cannot interact with those pictured
babies, they soon become boring and may have, if any effect, that
of discouraging social overtures to real babies. Others are
inappropriate efforts to teach infants vocabulary suitable for
three and four year-olds. While such videos are not educational in
any real sense of the term, they may have the negative effect of
being used as substitutes for interacting with real people and
watching, hearing, and smelling real people doing real things .I
have seen two videos aimed at babies and parents that could be
useful. One of them (So Smart! - The Baby School Company, Miami,
FL) is designed to give a parent or other care-giver some
audio-visual tools for playing with baby. It portrays simple
moving designs, accompanied by gentle music, and instructs the
adult user how to use these
presentations, along with speech, to play with an infant and give
them small bits of novel stimuli at a comfortable pace, and to
respond to the baby's limited attention span. The other (Exercise
With Daddy and Me - My Baby and Me Exercise, Inc., Pembroke Beach,
FL) pretends to be an exercise tape for new fathers and their very
young infants. It isn't really exercise for either, but provides
an excuse and instruction for the father who is uncomfortable
about babies to get used to holding and playing with his baby,
introduces the father to elements of infant massage, and has a
discussion with a group of fathers about the adjustments to family
life that a baby brings about. It may, for some men, open up
discussions with their wives which would otherwise be too
uncomfortable for them. Here again, the tape serves not as a
substitute for interaction with a parent, but as instruction for
the parenting person. Such tapes, used as instructed, provide a
sensible and safe way to use video with infants. Using videos as
"stand-alone" entertainment for an infant is usually a bad idea.
It doesn't teach in the ways that infants learn, and it can
deprive an infant of the human interaction it needs for
Dr. Lazar is
professor emeritus at Cornell University, research professor of
public policy, senior research associate at Vanderbilt University
and is most widely known for his longitudinal study on Head Start.
Reprinted courtesy of Children's Video Report.
TIPS FOR PARENTS ON TV VIOLENCE
outset of violence in schools has again raised parents' concerns
about the influence of television violence on their children. Here
are some tips from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry on avoiding TV violence:
attention to the programs your children are watching. Watch
some with them.
- Point out
that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed,
such violence in real life results in pain or
- Refuse to
let the children see shows known to be violent, and change the
channel or turn off the TV when something offensive comes on,
with an explanation of what is wrong with the program.
of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the
belief that such behavior is not the best way to resolve a
- To offset
peer pressure among friends and classmates, contact other
parents and agree to enforce similar rules.
CQCM'S NEWEST CHARTER MEMBER:
Plaza Entertainment and the Family Universal Network, F.U.N. -
Co., are dedicated to providing top quality family entertainment
to the theatrical and home video market. Working together with
world-class producers from all around the globe, Plaza offers
nothing but the best in "Family safe" movies.
WELCOME NEW CQCM BOARD MEMBERS
Pines: M.S.W. UC Berkeley, psychiatric nurse - California,
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, director of anti-poverty programs,
urban renewal in Illinois, consultant to Head Start in
mid-west, developed county wide mental health program.
Board of Directors:
Caldwell: Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and
Education, Univ. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; former
director, The Childrens Center, Syracuse Univ. Syracuse,
NY; former director, Child Evaluation Clinic, Washington Univ.
School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; past president, National
Association for the Education of Young Children.
Herklotz: Chairman, Plaza Entertainment; CEO, Herklotz
Enterprises, Inc. a company whose purpose is to develop,
produce and promote quality full-length family films; Board
Chairman, American Happenings; former CFO of Chicago
Tribune/WGN Continental Broadcasting. Active with Children's
Miracle Network and Los Angeles Children's Hospital.
Liebowitz: National PTA Health & Welfare Commissioner,
Project Team Leader for Critical Viewing Skills and Media
Literacy; past president of the New York State PTA; past chair
of the New York State Coalition for Public Education.
Ross: President, Family Home Entertainment - one of the top
distributors of family and childrens entertainment on
video; Executive Vice-President, Live Home Entertainment; past
Senior Vice President, Hallmark Home Entertainment.
Zwick: President, Pop Twist Productions; television
producer/program director; former Senior Vice President -
Original Specials/ Acquired Programming - The Disney Channel,
one of the most notable sources of documentary programming for
adults as well as children; producer, "Anne Frank Remembered" -
winner of the 1996 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
CQCM BOARD HONORS MEDIA LEADER:
Schindel, founder Weston Woods and Children's Circle has been
named an Honorary Board member of the Coalition for Quality
Childrens Media. Thanks to Mort for his long term support
and for serving on CQCMs National Board.
KIDS FIRST!® JURORS
We'd like to welcome
all our new Jurors and give a special thank you to all Jurors, new
and old alike. Annually, our Jurors donate over $500,000 worth of
their professional time serving as evaluators for KIDS FIRST!®
On our not for profit budget, we could never afford to do what we
do without your help. We couldnt do it without you! NOTE:
If you hold a degree in child development, education, library sciences,
media or a related field, consider joining over four hundred professional
colleagues by becoming an adult Juror for KIDSFIRST! - a nationally
acclaimed body of children's media evaluators. For details, call
505-989-8076, email: or visit www.cqcm.org.
RECENT AND RECOMMENDED PUBLICATIONS
and Computers: a Parent's Survival Guide. Buckleitner, Children's
Software Review. Billed as a Practical Guide for the Parents
of Children Aged 2 to 7," provides great information for parents
including computer set up, introducing software and going online.
Childhood? Combating the Hazards of Media Culture Diane E. Levin
Ph.D. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
1509 16th Street, NW Washington, DC 2003-1426.6. Fine resource for
parents and teachers concerned with media violence, includes NAEYC
position statement on media violence in childrens lives,
suggestions for classroom teachers, extensive resources. 1998.
Children and Media Violence. Ulla Carlsson and Cecilia von
Feitzen, ed. Yearbook from the UNESCO International Clearinghouse
on children and violence on the screen. 1998.
Make Beliefs for
Kids of All Ages. Zimmerman, Bloom. Andrews and McMeel, 4520 Main
Street, Kansas City, MI 64111. Issues of interest to kids allowing
them to participate in the answers by writing, drawing their
solutions and ideas. 1996.
National Association of Independent Children's Video Producers
The debut meeting
of the National Association of Independent Children's
Video Producers took place in the San Francisco Bay Area
earlier this spring.
The NAICVP is a
trade organization created by independent producers for
independent producers to build awareness and sales for
independently produced children's videos.
information, contact Marcela Davison Aviles at
Urman, Power To Create Productions; Gina Lamb, Bo Peep
Productions; Jean Lund, Raindrop Productions; Gary Adams,
Gary Adams Productions; Ranny Levy, Coalition for Quality
Children's Media; Dennis Fedoruk; Small Fry Productions;
Marcela Davison Aviles, Blackboard Entertainment; Shelley
Frost, Producer; Marci DeClaris, Carpool Productions.
Kid-Friendly Searching From Lycos, Disney, Ask
Reprinted with permission from
A few months ago, I got a
message from a teacher desperate to find some kid-friendly search
services. She had done a search on a seemingly innocent topic in
front of her classroom, only to have sites pitching pornography
appear in the top results. She was anxious to avoid a repeat
There's good news for her,
along with other educators and parents who want search results
appropriate for children. Three new services offer children a safer
way to search the web.
Two were introduced in June:
Lycos SafetyNet and the Disney Internet Guide, or DIG for short.
Another new comer is Ask Jeeves For Kids, which launched in
Lycos SafetyNet is a system
that uses filtering technology to help prevent possibly objectionable
web sites from appearing in its results. This is a first among the
major crawler-based search engines.
Crawler-based services like
Lycos, AltaVista, Excite and Infoseek create their listings by
visiting web pages and indexing the text they find on them. The
problem with this is that they can be easier to trick than web guides
compiled by humans, such as Yahoo and LookSmart.
For example, some porn sites
place misleading text on their pages to fool search engine crawlers
into thinking they are relevant for popular topics. In other cases, a
site may indeed be relevant for a term, but relevant to adults, not
To see this in action,
perform a search for "toys," "chicks" or "spice girls" on any of the
major search engines, and you'll probably see some adult sites among
the top results. You may also see some adult-oriented banner
A Cyber Dialogue study
conducted for Lycos found 67 percent of those surveyed wanted the
ability to block adult sites from search results when their children
are using the computer. In response to this and other concerns, Lycos
created SafetyNet. It was quietly launched a few weeks ago, but Lycos
made a public announcement on June 29.
Activating SafetyNet is easy.
You visit the SafetyNet home page and fill out a small form, which
includes assigning a password for altering SafetyNet settings.
At its basic setting,
SafetyNet will filter objectionable material from the top search
results and prevent adult-oriented ads from loading. At a higher
level, SafetyNet will also block access to Lycos chat areas, e-mail
and message boards.
SafetyNet settings are stored
in a cookie on the computer, so that it remembers whether filtering
has been switched on. It can be turned off at any time, as long as
the proper password is provided. Click on the SafetyNet logo, which
appears in the upper-right hand side of the search results screen, to
reach the SafetyNet control panel.
The system works by detecting
pages that contain words and word syntax common to adult or
objectionable material. These pages are then pushed to the end of the
results, where they are unlikely to be found.
For example, a Lycos search
for "kate winslett" without SafetyNet brings up numerous sites
offering nude pictures of the actress in the top results. With
SafetyNet on, these nude sites disappear from the top ten.
Lycos readily admits that
SafetyNet is not perfect. Some objectionable sites may still slip
through, and a smart kid can certainly figure out how to delete the
cookie. Also, access to its dynamically created directory remains,
where some adult content could be listed.
"Originally, we wanted a
foolproof system," said Lycos Product Manager Rajive Mathur. "But on
the Internet, there's no way to get that without sending an army of
people to scrub each result."
The key is that SafetyNet
greatly lessens the odds of an unexpected, and unwanted, surprise. It
gives parents and others an easy, first line of defense, which they
can further supplement with a software filtering solution, if
Overall, SafetyNet is an
excellent enhancement for those parents and educators who use Lycos
already, because they consistently like the results it returns. It
offers a way to make their favorite service kid-friendly.
SafetyNet is also a good
alternative for those who've tried searching at kid-friendly
directories such as Yahooligans but failed to find what they wanted.
That's because Lycos, being a crawler-based service, may have more
comprehensive coverage for particular types of searches.
For best success, it's also
important to understand when not to use SafetyNet.
When SafetyNet is on, you
can't search for some words at all. Search for "sex," and you'll be
told nothing could be found. Look for "sex education," and you're
essentially doing a search for "education," as the term "sex" will be
ignored. Likewise, birdwatchers looking for information on "blue
tits" are really only searching for "blue."
So, when looking for material
with possible adult connotations, or when using terms that include
sexual or possibly objectionable words, push the kids out of the room
and turn SafetyNet off. You'll get much better results. With it on,
you'll probably get frustrated.
Likewise, turn SafetyNet off
if your searches don't seem to turn up any good matches. You may be
using a term that is filtered out because of connotations you don't
In contrast to Lycos
SafetyNet, Disney has taken a tried-and-tested approach of
handpicking sites for inclusion in its new DIG service.
This is filtering by humans,
rather than machines. The advantage is that humans usually do a
better job in categorizing the web, so you can expect the Disney
guide to be a good starting place for kids to explore the web. The
same is true for Yahooligans, the long-established children's
directory from Yahoo.
Directories are an especially
good place to begin searching when your topic is broad, such as
"travel" or "sports." This is because you'll find often discover
categories that help you narrow your focus.
The Disney guide is produced
in partnership with Inktomi, which provides results to HotBot and
powers supplemental results to Yahoo and Snap. However, Inktomi is
doing something different with Disney. Its technology is being used
both to provide matching pages from a select set of web sites and to
also help organize those sites into categories, according to Kevin
Brown, Inktomi's marketing director.
This categorization is
something Inktomi has not previously done with its other partners,
but the company can't say more about it at the moment, Brown
It's also uncertain what will
happen in the wake of Disney's new stake in Infoseek. It seems likely
that Inktomi will continue to power DIG, especially in light of the
specialty service it is providing.
The third entry is based on
Ask Jeeves, a unique search service that lists questions its thinks
you want answered in response to a search, then takes you to web
pages that answer those questions.
For example, enter "world
cup," and it will display results like "Where can I find the latest
news about the 1998 World Cup" or "Where can I find a list of the
all-time best players in international soccer." Clicking on the Ask
Jeeves logo next to each question takes you to a relevant web site
with the answers.
Ask Jeeves For Kids follows
the same model, but results are oriented for children. My favorite
response was when I tested a search for "sex." Ask Jeeves responds
with "Where do babies come from?"
The regular Ask Jeeves
service also acts as a metacrawler, presenting results from several
of the major search services below its own answers. Ask Jeeves For
Kids provides the same functionality, but it filters out any
objectionable sites that are on SurfWatch's block list.
Disney Internet Guide
Ask Jeeves For
Still want more?
The new Search
page lists additional sites of interest to kids, parents and
This article originally appeared in
SearchEngineWatch at www.searchenginewatch.com
Copyright© 1997 Mecklermedia Corporation, 20 Ketchum Street,
Westport, CT 06880; http://www.internet.com. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission.
Cleveland Filmmakers Project Director Needed
Cleveland Film Society is seeking a full-time director of
Cleveland Filmmakers, its program of educational, professional and
artistic support for independent filmmakers in Northern Ohio. The
CF Project Director designs, coordinates and executes all aspects
of this growing program, including:
should have film production experience, a high level of efficiency
and attention to detail, excellent interpersonal skills and word
processing and database software proficiency, as well as
familiarity with some of the following: non-profit management,
film education,event planning, marketing and creating the world in
less than 2.3 days.
position description, call (216) 623-0400
consideration, send letter and resume to:
W. Wittkowsky, Exec. Dir.
Cleveland Film Society
1621 Euclid Ave., #428
Cleveland, OH 44115
note, due to budget restraints, we published our '97 fall and
winter newsletter online only. Any new member who has joined
within the past year will have their membership extended an
additional year, as a courtesy of CQCM.
ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW JURORS
A perk for Jurors is that you may keep any
title that you approve. For many teachers and librarians, it is a
nifty way to increase your collection.
If you are interested in becoming involved as a KIDS FIRST!®Juror,
contact at the Coalition, phone:
FIRST! (CQCM) Web Site
clocks over 115,000 hits monthly
and has received several awards
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Information on How to Become a
As a benefit to membership, producers can link
from our site to theirs - you could sell your title off the net. For
more information, contact
Other organizations that support the
KIDS FIRST!® initiative are offering the
Directory to their members and will generate a small profit
from doing so. If you know an organization interested in
doing this, please have them contact