Elementary kids weigh in on presidential candidates

Kids and where they learn about politics
Published: Feb. 3, 2016 at 10:19 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2016 at 1:38 AM CST
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(KFVS) - How much do you think your kids know about politics? What about this year's presidential race? Political experts say it might be more than you think.

According to a recent PEW Research study, kids aren't learning about the political process from their parents like they use to and for future elections. It's social media that's going to be convincing them who to vote for.

I started my roundtable discussion with a game of who's who?

Several Nell Holcomb Fifth grade students jumped right in naming pictures of Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.

The group of 10 and 11 year olds didn't stop there. They rattled off facts about the faces on the table to who they feel is best for the job.

"I would actually like Ben Carson to become president because he says some things that all of these other candidates don't say," said Ava Watkins.

Who is leading in the polls?

"Trump is making his way up just like Cruz too," said Wyatt Durham.

So where do they learn this stuff? Southeast Missouri State University Political Science professor Dr. Jeremy Walling says those facts don't come entire from their parents.

"If I am a kid and my parents have let me have a Twitter account or Facebook account, whether I am seeking that or not it is going to appear," Walling said. "Now, it may appear in some sort of random way, but I am going to be exposed to things that I am not normally would not have been exposed to before."

Walling says before the internet, social media and political shows like "The Daily Show," parents were "spoon feeding" information. But, that's all changed.

"Look no further than Bernie Sanders has in three months gone up 20 points with far less money than Hilary has and a lot of that has to be due to him using social media," he said.

And some of these elementary school students will second that statement.

"Even little kids can hear about it," said Nora Craft.

Walling says while it might promote more voter turnout, especially in our younger voters, not everything on the internet is true.

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