Synopses & Reviews
“Bakan offers passionate argument and copious research in this compelling call for parents to stand up for their children” (Booklist). Now in paperback, from the author of the internationally bestselling The Corporation, this vital call to arms has been praised by leading experts on children’s lives as “an essential read for anyone who works for or cares about children” (Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queenbees and Wannabees) and “engaging, carefully researched, and important” (Mary Pipher, author of The Shelter of Each Other and Seeking Peace).
Based on extensive interviews with industry insiders, expert critics, and kids themselves, as well as in-depth research into the latest findings in neuroscience and the study of the effects of media and prescription drugs on children, Joel Bakan pulls back the veil on the insidious methods used to lure younger and younger children into smoking, drinking, gambling, and online sex, and to addict them to video games and social networking. He reveals that early addictions actually shape children’s brains in ways that put them at high risk for addiction to drugs and alcohol, and he discloses the astonishing extent to which children are being prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. He also reveals that child labor laws are being routinely violated.
A book that every parent should read, Childhood Under Siege is also a powerful manifesto for urgent change.
"Childhood Under Siege outlines the powerful strategies at play in the corporate war against children. Bakan maintains that, while most families do their best, they are outmaneuvered by well-paid experts serving the needs of greedy and heartless corporations. This engaging, carefully researched and important book is a call to action to those who believe we have a responsibility to protect all our children with our laws and public policies as well as our hearts."
"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
andlt;Bandgt;Corporations have found a new resource to be mined for profit: andlt;/Bandgt;our children. In this shocking and indelible behind-the-scenes journey, Joel Bakan, acclaimed author and award-winning maker of the renowned film and international bestselling book The Corporation, uncovers the astonishing degree to which companies exploit the special vulnerabilities of children, manipulate parentsand#8217; fears, and operate with callous disregard for childrenand#8217;s health and well-being. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The problem today, Bakan reveals, is that business interests have made protecting children extremely difficult. Corporations pump billions into rendering parents and governments powerless to shield children from an unrelenting commercial assault, with the result that after a century of progress, during which protective laws and regulations were widely promulgated, children are once again exposed to substantial harms at the hands of economic actors. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Childhood Under Siege leaves no room for doubt that this assault on childhood is a major crisis of our time. A powerful manifesto for urgent change, it empowers us to shield our own children while offering concrete and realistic proposals for legal reforms that would protect all children from these predatory practices.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Joel Bakanandlt;/bandgt; is a professor of law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His book andlt;iandgt;The Corporationandlt;/iandgt; was published in twenty languages, was an international bestseller, and inspired the critically acclaimed hit documentary of the same name.