Americans, on average, spend more than seven hours a day watching
television. 98 percent of all homes in the U.S. have television
sets. Undeniably, television is a major source in shaping our values
and behaviors. For example, libraries around the country reported
a 500 percent increase in library card applications after a Happy
Days episode aired in which the Fonz applies for a library card.
In order to encourage the incorporation of children’s issues
in television and film, CAN assists television and film writers
in researching topics varying from child custody cases to teen suicide.
These projects have ranged from ER, Party of Five, NYPD Blue, Homicide:
Life on the Street, Nash Bridges, Picket Fences, and 60 Minutes
to the films Freak the Mighty and It Takes Two, as well as an Oprah
Winfrey special on Poverty and Hunger.
CAN also sponsors an ongoing series of educational briefings for
the entertainment industry and distributes recent news articles
to over 2,000 writers, producers, and directors, keeping the entertainment
industry informed on children’s issues. Past briefings have
addressed issues such as health care, prenatal substance abuse,
and lead poisoning, and featured nationally recognized children’s
experts including T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Marian Wright Edelman
and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.