Childhood Under Siege

Author: 

Joel Bakan

Publication Date: 

June 19, 2012

In his new book Childhood Under Seige: How Big Business Targets Children, Bakan looks specifically at corporate influences on children. And it’s not pretty. He delves into child targeted advertising, child labor, psychotropic drugs for kids, and the corporatization of public education, showing in painful detail exactly how harmful it is for powerful entities whose sole raison d’etre is profit, to have so much control and influence over the health and wellbeing of society’s most precious, and most vulnerable, resource. Of particular interest to us are his interviews with two child-marketing gurus: James McNeal, author of The Kids Market: Myths and Realities, and Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand Child: Remarkable Insights into the Minds of Today's Global Kids & Their Relationships with Brands. Each professes outrage at the state of marketing to children today and the harms it is doing to them. McNeal now believes that targeting children is "injurious to children and their parents. . . . Too may children are taking risks, getting fat, becoming unhealthy, not studying enough, not sleeping enough, and, in general, endangering themselves through overconsumption.” Adds Lindstrom, children’s exposure to marketing is a “disaster in terms of kids and their futures.” (As Bakan points out, Lindstrom’s beliefs are somewhat puzzling given his continued involvement in the industry. Childhood Under Seige can be painful reading sometimes, but is an important book for anyone who cares about children and our future.

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