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"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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chemicals have been poured into the air, water and soil; in a big city where the opportunity to encounter nature has been replaced by concrete, fast cars, video games and shopping malls; in a world in which childhood represents a marketing challenge and opportunity.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.”
"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."
“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."
"Bakan offers passionate argument and copious research in this compelling call for parents to stand up for their children."
"[Bakan] calls for government regulation of big business, citing examples sure to make parents take notice...A provocative argument."
Bakan (Law/Univ. of British Columbia;The Corporation, 2005) argues that corporations "resemble human psychopaths in their essential natures," and he calls for government regulation of big business, citing examples sure to make parents take notice.
Children are bombarded with images of sex and violence, and the advent of new media makes it increasingly difficult for parents to control what children view. According to Bakan, two popular Internet games that contain murder and misogyny—"Whack Your Soulmate" and "Boneless Girl"—attract children with addictive qualities and are brought to us by a flagship site for Nickelodeon. The author even goes as far as blaming the fast-food industry for childhood obesity; though parents make the ultimate dietary decisions, he writes, they are heavily influenced by the "nagging" of children. Bakan discusses several crimes of the Western corporate world, including the proliferation of harmful chemicals (phthalates and lead) in Dora the Explorer activity totes and Wal-Mart's child-labor--law violations. Most shocking is the author's example of hundreds of thousands of U.S. migrant children working in fields for hours with few breaks, exploited by big farms. The author notes that governments "are alone in being able, through the enactment of laws and regulations, to change, for the better, the conditions in which parents make choices for their children." Bakan provides many disturbing statistics and examples, but little in the way of solutions.
A provocative argument heavy on emotion but light on economic ramifications.