Making Sense

Our Kids and the Election

Liz Perle Editor in Chief | Mom of two Categories: Digital media and school
Editor in Chief | Mom of two

We are a strictly non-partisan organization, but that doesn't mean we aren't passionate about the democratic process. How we learn about candidates, how we make our decisions, and how we participate in the electoral process profoundly shapes our kids' understanding and expectations about their ultimate civic duties. Since we get our information through the media, it's important for our kids to understand that all media is not created equal when it comes to how candidates deliver their messages.
 

We are a strictly non-partisan organization, but that doesn't mean we aren't passionate about the democratic process. How we learn about candidates, how we make our decisions, and how we participate in the electoral process profoundly shapes our kids' understanding and expectations about their ultimate civic duties. Since we get our information through the media, it's important for our kids to understand that all media is not created equal when it comes to how candidates deliver their messages.

If you are in a battleground state, you have been deluged with commercials for both presidential candidates beginning as early as last May. By one count, Ohioans were treated to a commercial every four minutes. But do your kids understand that each candidate is "selling" himself? Do they realize that each news source, while purporting to be objective, always selects and sculpts its contents with an editorial bias? There is no such thing as "objective" reporting. Your kids should be encouraged not only to participate in elections, but also to challenge what they read, see, and hear.

We heartily recommend that you and your kids go to Factcheck.org, the website that is run by the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. It's an eye opener not just for kids, but also for those of us who get our "facts" on the run in 30- second sound bites. With the course of our country at stake in a presidential election, we have to use the good media to make sense of the not-so-complete media.

About Liz Perle

Liz is Common Sense Media's intrepid editor in chief -- read all about her here. ... Read more

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