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Let's Rewrite the Rules for Kids' Media

Forty years after the debut of Sesame Street, it is once again time to rethink the way we expose kids to media

Four decades ago, Joan Ganz Cooney and her colleagues created the gold standard for using mass media to educate children when they founded the long-running kids' program Sesame Street. Today, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the nonprofit research organization Ganz Cooney founded, is pushing for an overhaul of children's media legislation that may prove no less far-reaching.

The center's recent report, D is for Digital, analyzes the impact of digital media on kids and reaches some striking conclusions. "Federal regulatory bodies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, and voluntary industry, public interest advocacy and philanthropic organizations, should advance policies that protect children from commercialism," the center writes. "A revitalization of the Children's Television Act needs to be undertaken to modernize the child protections now called for in a digital age."