From commercials, to billboards, to yard signs. There’s no doubt this is an election year. While the ads target adult voters, studies show kids are also being influenced. Researchers interviewed 187 kindergarten through fifth graders one month before and one month after the 2016 election. They found nearly 80 percent were able to correctly identify the candidates and 74 percent described at least one of their policies. But they also found kids’ political knowledge was influenced by their parents’ views and was sometimes limited or incorrect.
Researchers say parents should use the election as an educational opportunity. Watch age-appropriate news programs with your kids. Encourage your child to think outside party lines and focus on political issues that matter most to them. And talk to them about engaging in respectful debates with others, helping your kids better understand politics.
The authors of the study say their findings suggest that children are paying close attention to politics and it’s important to present accurate information to them. The sample of participants in this study was not nationally representative but was both racially and economically diverse.