I read on CNN’s website that someone has developed an app that helps people decipher political ads. Very cool idea, but what I really need is someone to come out with an app that helps parents explain to their kids the world of politics.
“Mom, what’s a Washington insider?”
My daughter pays attention to TV and radio ads. We’ve had many a conversation about how the goal of commercials is to try and persuade people to buy products, and they may exaggerate how good the product really is. (This was my excuse for not taking my daughter’s advice – given unsolicited after she looked at my feet – to get that roll-on-heel balm that will give me “baby smooth skin” like hers.) So she was somewhat primed for my attempts at explaining campaigning, attack ads, and the much needed skill of Don’t Believe Everything You Hear on TV.
After reading some suggestions on how to help kids think critically about what they hear in campaign ads, it occurred to me that many adults could benefit from taking a moment or two to do some fact checking on their own during this political season. I haven’t downloaded the handy new app mentioned by CNN, but I have used resources like PolitiFact, FactCheck, and even Snopes to help me tease out fact from fiction from all the rhetoric that comes my way through the airways, the internet, and e-mails. The next time you hear a politically motivated claim, you might want to check them out, too.
While I admit to being a bit bummed that I have to teach my daughter that with political ads, like commercials, we can’t always believe what we hear, I am glad that she’s paying attention, asking questions about the political process, and sees the importance of having a vote. With Texas having among the lowest voter turnouts in the country, we certainly need to encourage all of our kids to become informed voters as soon as they are able to register. Why not take your kids with you to the polls when you vote in November?
Here are some other resources you might find helpful during this political season:
- Talking with Kids About Political Ads
- Are Politicians Being Positive Role Models for Our Kids?
- Texas Voting Information (Note that the last day to register to vote is coming up Oct. 9!)
- Texas League of Women Voters 2012 General Election Voters’ Guide
Have you waded into talking about politics with your kids? Do you encourage them to watch the debates or follow the news? Have any tips for fellow parents? Let us know in the comments.
Written by: Josette Saxton