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Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 9, 2011
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—Mary Pipher, author of The Shelter of Each Other and Seeking Peace
"Childhood Under Siege is a compelling call to arms in the covert war for our children's minds, health, and future. Joel Bakan empowers us all to stop lamenting the destruction of childhood and do something to rescue it."
—Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Educational Psychologist and author of Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child's Learning Problems
“The assault on childhood in our corporate-dominated and profit-driven society, painfully dissected in this penetrating study, is a tragedy not only for the immediate victims but for hopes for a better future. It can be resisted, as Joel Bakan discusses. And it is urgent not to delay.”
—Noam Chomsky, author of Hopes and Prospects
“Joel Bakan documents and depicts a modern disaster-in-the-making as ominous as our society's assault on the natural environment: the social and economic destruction of the conditions for healthy childhood. An eloquent and prophetic work we need most urgently to heed.”
—Gabor MatÉ, M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
“To be a child today, even in affluent countries like ours, is no longer a time of innocence, idyll and discovery, as Bakan reveals in Childhood Under Siege. Most children today grow up on a planet in which billions of tons of toxic chemicals have been poured into the air, water and soil; in a big city where the opportunity to encounter nature has been replaced by concrete, fast cars, video games and shopping malls; in a world in which childhood represents a marketing challenge and opportunity. Read this important book and then start working for change.”
—David Suzuki, co-author of The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature
"Joel Bakan's new book is a compelling, informed alarm about the insidious and invisible ways children are being manipulated into thoughtless consumers. Childhood Under Seige is an essential read for anyone who works for or cares about children because we simply can't advocate for and teach them effectively if we don't know what we are up against. As a mother and a teacher, it was sometimes overwhelming to read this book, but for my own work and parenting I forced myself to keep going. At times it was deeply frightening--and I do media literacy training as part of my work. It's very simple: If you want to be relevant in a child's life, you need to read this book." —Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queenbees and Wannabees
“Our new century of unlimited private profits has put an end to the era of publicly protected childhood. Separated by corporate design from their parents, kids have become capitalism's newest and most lucrative (and most vulnerable) consumers. In his Childhood Under Siege, Joel Bakan offers an angry but careful analysis of how the market flourishes today by selling our children everything from dangerous drugs, toxic plastics and unhealthy snack foods to violent and addictive video games and for-profit standardized tests. The villains here are not playground stalkers but supposedly "child-friendly" companies like Nickelodeon, Facebook, Pfizer and Edison Schools, along with a trillion dollar children's marketing machine and a "government is the problem" ideology that hasmade public regulation of the interests of children all but impossible. If they read Bakan carefully, once they get over their rage, both parents and policy makers may be ready to lift the corporate siege that is threatening not just our children but childhood itself."
—Benjamin R. Barber,author of Consumed: How Markets Infantilize Adults, Corrupt Children andSwallow Citizens Whole
"Bakan offers passionate argument and copious research in this compelling call for parents to stand up for their children." —Booklist (starred review)
"[Bakan] calls for government regulation of big business, citing examples sure to make parents take notice...A provocative argument." -- Kirkus
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Joel Bakan's book is a wakeup call and a call to action for parents who want to protect their children and have them grow up in an environment that isn't threatening them at every turn.
The first is video games - 'Grand Theft Auto IV' was released in 2008 and sold 6 million units the first week for $500 million. Having bad things happen to virtual pets left without attention (eg. subscribing to a paid upgrade) is now used to addict children to online games. More obviously, such games inure players to violence and sex. Tweens and teens spend about eight hours/day online or watching TV. Both offer plenty of other unhealthy diversions/'education' during that time.
Baken's section on pediatric psychotropic drugs was the most interesting section. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act allowed scientists and institutions ownership over discoveries made with federal funding. Prior to that medical research was done mainly in public institutions by academic physicians and shielded from the corrupting influences of marketing. Now corporate partners have poured money into this area - influencing the increased number of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) categories of pediatric maladies, and the purported remedies.
The vast majority of published research covers only positive results of clinical trials; of these, approximately half are ghost-written by corporate-sponsored writers. The studies themselves introduce subtle but important biases by careful selection of the 'right' questions - eg. comparing a new drug with a deliberately weak alternative.Read more ›
At one time, Bakan explains, our society recognized the necessity to provide legal protection for children because they are uniquely vulnerable persons with special rights and needs. Consequently, child labor was outlawed. Minimum ages were enacted for sexual consent and other adult activities. The community was in partnership with parents to shelter children instead of leaving it up to parents on their own.
Around 1980, with the elections of Reagan and Thatcher, we began to retreat from the ideal of putting children’s interests above those of the marketplace. Deregulation become the new dogma, and government was seen as intruding on parental and corporate freedom. Conservatives criticized the “nanny state” while corporations came to be seen as legal “persons” whose interests the law should protect.
“As a result, children are left largely unprotected from corporations’ unbridled pursuit of profit.” Business interests craft “information” that “creates and downplays fears in order to help sell products and justify harmful practices,” writes Bakan.
In Bakan’s previous book, The Corporation (2004), he makes the case that government regulation is indispensable because for-profit corporations are legally compelled to always and only act in ways to serve their interests.Read more ›
I hope this consciousness spreads around for people to react and force governments to approve strict laws and controls and severe punishment.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great analysis of the marketing tactics used to make profits first. The children have no defense as the business world seek to induce addictive behaviors... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Light Gatherer
The "non-scholar" in me was a bit disappointed that Bakan's "notes" at the end of the volume made up fully one-fourth of the book's total pages. Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Vigilant1
I heard this author being interviewed on the radio and decided to read his book.This is an extremely insightful and informative book and very frightening at the same time. Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by Yuli
Intriguing and sometimes shocking, always provocative, this account of the methods by and extent to which those in business shape children's behavior and belief systems is... Read morePublished on March 16, 2012 by IVYSTUDENT
Childhood Under Siege is a must read for everyone who is concerned with our countries future. Our children's (and our own) environment is being severely contaminated.Published on December 18, 2011 by Conrad Spirrison