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Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children
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Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Corporations have found a new resource to be mined for profit: 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 par ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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I received this book for free as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was very impressed with this book. Each chapter goes into great detail about different ways that Corporate America is going after children.....whether it's through commercials/ marketing, pharmaceutical companies, education ideas, labor laws, etc. It was eye opening and informative. I really enjoyed it and am passing it along to others. I would recommend this book if you have children in your life, or will at some time in the future.


Baken's basic premise is that corporations have been enriching themselves by ignoring or blatently stepping on children's needs and rights.

Governments in America and even in Canada have allowed corporations to do self relulating assuming that they will do the moral or right thing. Instead, with the 80's and deregulation of government controls, corporations have been ignoring and actively defending their rights to fill the environment with toxic chemicals, violent video games, obesity-causing foo
I bought this book for my sister Christmas 2011. I was just as interested in reading it as she was. Once she had finished it I was surprised with the rating she gave (she also gave 2 stars). I wanted to read this and form an opinion for myself.

Just like my sister I did not enjoy this book as much as I would have thought. I think the main reason is that the book put a lot of despair into me. I felt after reading some parts that the world was such an awful place with its ruling corporations and t
This book is the perfect answer to Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry. Like me, author Joel Bakan agrees with Lenore Skenazy's basic premise that we should not be raising our kids in the specter of imagined fears. And he's no helicopter parent. But he wisely points out that "both overprotection and underprotection can result from corporations' and industries' strategic channelling of information to boost products and protect interests." We fear ...more
Utterly depressing and with broad sweeping calls for a legal, policy and paradigm shifting revolution but no concrete or useful recommendations on what we can realistically do to protect our children now. This generation is growing up with pervasive and interactive violence and its associated hypersexualization and the objectification of girls and women so media companies can sell more games, movies, and toys. They are nulled and overmedicated for overblown diagnoses of questionable newly invent ...more
David Niose
I consider Joel Bakan a hero. His book "The Corporation" is on my short list of "must reads," as it explains the fundamental problem of corporate power better than any other short, readable book. "Childhood Under Siege" was very good, but not an instant classic like "The Corporation." It takes a close look at how corporations disregard the interests of children in order to market and sell their products, with the only real goal being profit. For the most part Bakan does a good job making his the ...more
Cet ouvrage est très informatif mais de ce fait et aussi très fâcheux. Bien sur, je soupçonnais déjà une grande partie de ce qui y était écrit, mais de voir ces faits sur papier, avec les références incluses à la fin du livre, cela m'a vraiment outrée contre les grandes compagnies.

L'auteur nous parle des méthodes employés pour rendre les enfants accros des jeux de console et de sites web. Une partie de leur formule est de susciter des émotions vives chez les enfants, mais une autre partie consis
Our children are bombarded daily with TV commercials, junk food in the grocery aisles, chemicals both inside and outside the home, along with new mind-altering drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies. But just how bad is it? This book exposes the seamy underbelly of big business and its drive for the almighty dollar. It explains the types of high-violence video games that push brutality, gore and sex for that "ultimate" thrill. It lists the major drug companies who've gotten minor slaps on the ...more
This one is grim. I'm usually into books like this and I can't fault the intent of the author. I agree that corporations have too much influence and are constantly acting against the public interest in order to make more money. It would just help to have some concrete solutions included so that there is some direction to the reader.
Sure, we're told that the remedies are in government regulation and more public awareness of these issues but it's really nothing new and not enough to take away from
An excellent book for parents, educators, and everyone who cares about the well-being of children! Bakan does a good job of helping parents to "fear accurately." There are some things that corporations do not want us to fear (e.g. the effects of violent video games, toxic chemicals, and psychotropic drugs on our children). Bakan does an excellent job of outlining these. He isn't quite as clear on the other side, outlining things corporations want us to fear, that we perhaps need not fear, or not ...more
Jessica Scott
A disconcerting look at corporations control of damn near every aspect of our lives. By refusing to regulate industry under the guise of parental choice, government gives industry free reign to warp children into being consumers for life, empty and incapable of thought outside of corporate messages. The very statement that parents have a choice in how their children are raised is negated by the world around them. I can forbid Bratz dolls in my home but I cannot stop their influence on my daughte ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
This well-researched book examines the predatory stance corporations have taken toward children during the past thirty years. Beyond the typical violence in video games argument, the author addresses areas such as: environmental health, public education, child psychiatry and pharmacology. Despite the heavy subject matter, this book does not overwhelm the reader in statistics or politics, but presents the information in a digestible manner. This book is not only for parents, but any person workin ...more
Long story short - must read.
Paul Froehlich
“A society that refuses to protect its children from harm and exploitation, even when it can, has truly lost its way,” writes Joel Bakan,a Canadian law professor who holds law degrees from Oxford and Harvard.

Should young children be the target of unfettered and sophisticated marketing by industries selling junk food and other products? Or should society give the kids some protection? Bakan makes a persuasive case for protection, instead of the let-the-parents-beware system we have today.
This book attempts to take on way too much in too few pages (the text is actually only 175 pages, the rest are notes). The initial chapters are strong, especially when discussing marketing to children and pharmaceutical companies scary ability to influence the expansion of diagnoses, but subsequent chapters, the discussion of education especially, were less engaging and not as well tied in to the overall premise.
Ann Douglas
Joel Bakan issues a powerful call to action to parents to become activists in order to safeguard their children's health and well-being. Highly recommended.

My review for The Toronto Star:
I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. However, I'm not sure why.
I did know a lot of the information presented, but there was a significant amount that was new to me, or expanded on what I already knew.
Still, if you're interested in the subject, I'd recommend it. It's also not as long as it seems. Over 100 pages are dedicated to citations.
Bakan doesn't always trot out convincing evidence for all his assertions. But he's convincing nonetheless: corporations eschew safety and considerations for children's well-being in order to maximize profit in the short term. Sounds about right. His take on the standardized testing companies ought to give school reformers pause. Ought to, anyway.
Loved this book, a well written and holistic analysis of how many big corporations prey on children's vulnerabilities to gain profit. I didn't find it too depressing, as the subject matter itself is realistically grim and I was prepared for that. I am glad he did not attempt to Disney-fy reality, he was frank, and it was effective.
I knew a lot of this, but not all and Bakan puts it all together very well. Very frightening to see how corporations instill fear in parents, and society in general, in some things and downplay risks in others all for their own profit.
Linda Wickes
If you are an over reactive parent, do not read this book! It is a good book and has great information on how to protect your children but I can see some parents panicing.
Jaimie Montréal
It's really a 3.5. It's got a lot of good info, but I wish he would have gone into more depth on a number of his major points. It's certainly worth reading in any case.
H Wesselius
typical agit-prop. A mere collection of examples of coporate excess and exploitation, with very little analysis.
Susan Marshall
I was a bit disappointed with this. I believe it is an important topic, but the writing was dry and boring.
An absolute must read for every parent. May God protect our children
Feb 23, 2014 Erendira marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Joel Bakan is a professor of law at the University of British Columbia, and an internationally renowned legal scholar and commentator. A former Rhodes Scholar and law clerk to Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada, Bakan has law degrees from Oxford, Dalhousie, and Harvard. His critically acclaimed international hit, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power ...more
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