Peggy Charren is the founder of Action for Children’s Television, a national child advocacy organization that encouraged responsible broadcasting practices beginning in 1968. She is a visiting scholar at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she serves on the Technology Council. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995, a Peabody Award in 1992, and an Emmy in 1988.
Peggy Charren was born in 1928 and raised in New York City. She attended Hunter College High School and Connecticut College. As a mother of two young daughters in the 1960s, Charren noticed that there were few appealing television programs for kids. She was determined to create a better selection for her children and for others. She gathered a few other women with young children and formed a non-profit organization called Action for Children’s Television (ACT), which advocated for higher quality, less commercialized children’s television programming and fought censorship. They used the law to challenge the broadcast industry and appealed to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission for better alternatives in children’s television. Their efforts ultimately led to the passing of the Children’s Television Act of 1990. For her work on behalf of children’s television, Charren received the Trustees Award of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, as well as a Peabody Award. Although she closed ACT in 1992, Charren is still known as the “Grande Dame of kids’ TV.”