Ralph Nader on Families & Children

Democracy needs youth’s energy & participation

To the youth of America, I say, beware of being trivialized by the commercial culture that tempts you daily. I hear you saying often that you’re not turned on to politics. If you do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on you.

Democracy responds to hands-on participation and to energized imagination. That’s its essence. We need the young people of America to move into leadership positions to shape their future as part of this campaign for a just society.

Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech Jun 25, 2000

TV ads targeting kids are “electronic child molesting”

What other society tolerates electronic child molesting the way these corporations are targeting 4-year-olds [on TV]? They know when parents are away working. Then they market their products, undermining parental authority, [suggesting] junk food & violence as a solution to life’s problems. [They’re] corporate hucksters. People say it’s up to the parents. Yeah, but who designed an economy where it takes two, three breadwinners to make a middle-class family living?
Source: George Skelton, LA Times Feb 23, 2000

Corporate TV marketers are raising our kids

Bypassing the parents, corporate hucksters brazenly market directly to children, starting at age two. These marketeers wrap these youngsters in a commercial cocoon for an average of 30 hours a week.
    To avoid or neutralize parental authority over the children’s spending:
  1. they urge the child to nag the parents
  2. they take advantage of the absence of parents who are working long hours away from home
  3. they know that if they can undermine the authority and judgment of parents in the eyes of their children, the little ones will purchase or demand items, regardless of their parents’ opinions.
Most people, until the disclosures about tobacco and alcohol companies court kids, had little knowledge about just how premeditated and calculated the efforts are. Children under 12 are increasingly being raised by these companies. Those kids spend far more time with corporate television and Internet games than they do with their parents and other adults.
Source: “In the Public Interest” newspaper column Oct 27, 1999

National speed limit saves lives

Getting rid of the speed limit -- if the states go up to 70 or 75 mph limits and some states with no speed limit -- there’s going to be 6,500 fatalities every year, and 20,000 permanently injured Americans, and $20 billion in health care and other costs, and higher auto insurance rates for everyone. [Congress and the Administration] go out of their way to dismantle a proven life-saving program, which over the last 21 years or so has saved tens of thousands of American lives.
Source: Interview on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now” Mar 27, 1996

Commercial TV separates children from parents

When [the general public] says, “We don’t have any control,” you [can] say, “Look what’s happening to your children.” At home, it’s the corporate suites that’s got them -- the thirty hours a week that the pre-teenage boy and girl sit watching television trash shows or playing video games. The thrust of these television shows is to separate children from the parents and then get the children to demand that the parents buy the products. Companies are taught how to market to the six-year-old, and are very clear about how they are substituting cartoon figures and jingles for the sense of reliance that children used to have come from their parents.

When you talk about that, that’s when they connect, because they realize that that’s true. They realize that they’re losing their children to the merchandising world, to kiddy television, to the violent Mortal Kombat videos and virtual reality goggles and similar escapes from any sense of social and historical context and the context of the home itself.

Source: Alternative Radio, interview by David Barsamian Dec 8, 1995

Other candidates on Families & Children: Ralph Nader on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Al Gore
Bill Clinton
Jesse Ventura
Ross Perot
Ralph Nader
Pat Buchanan
John McCain
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
War & Peace