Childhood Under Siege
How Big Business Targets Children
Joel Bakan reveals the astonishingly callous and widespread exploitation of children by profit-seeking corporations, and also society’s shameful failure to protect them. Bakan shows how corporations pump billions of dollars into rendering parents and governments powerless to shield children from a relentless commercial assault designed solely to exploit their unique needs and vulnerabilities.
Literary Review of Canada
"Joel Bakan’s powerful, well-documented polemic is just what we need to hear right now"
"Stunning....The book sounds alarms about issues that go under most parents' radar."
Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees
"an essential read for anyone who works for or cares about children"
"painfully dissected in this penetrating study... It can be resisted "
"Read this important book and then start working for change."
About the Book
Corporations have a new resource to mine for profit: our children
In Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children (Free Press/August 9, 2011/$26.00 hardcover),and focusing on the United States in particular, Bakan demonstrates how:
- Marketers target children with increasingly devious methods to manipulate their vulnerable emotions, cultivate compulsive behavior, and addle their psyches with violence, sex, and obsessive consumerism.
- More and more children take dangerous psychotropic drugs as pharmaceutical companies commandeer medical science and deploy dubious and often illegal marketing tactics to boost sales.
- Children’s chronic health problems are rising dramatically as corporations dump thousands of new chemicals, in increasing amounts, into the environment, usually with the blessings of industry-influenced governments.
- Children as young as six are working illegally on farms, getting injured, becoming ill, and dying on the job, while the legal age for farm work remains a shockingly low 12 years old in the U.S.
- America’s schools are becoming private-sector markets for profit-seeking companies, harnessing education to the needs of industry and promoting increasingly regimented and standardized learning.
- And more
“As governments retreat from their previous roles of protecting children from harm at the hands of corporations,” Bakan writes, “we, as a society, increasingly neglect children’s needs, expose them to exploitation, and thus betray what we, as individuals, cherish most in our lives.”
Childhood Under Siege is a call to action to reverse these trends, and provides the necessary insights, information, and concrete proposals to do so.
Literary Review of Canada
“Joel Bakan’s powerful, well-documented polemic is just what we need to hear right now, if we are to even begin to reverse the toxic consumerist legacy we are bequeathing to future generations.”
“The information in Bakan’s book is…stunning….The book sounds alarms about issues that go under most parents’ radar.”
“Childhood Under Siege” 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.”