Experts talk talking politics with kids

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Joncarlo Ciccone and Michael Rocco teach social studies at Hamden Middle School. As the presidential election gets closer they say student interest in how it all works is at an all time high.

“It’s just all around them. Whether it is on the news, the radio, Facebook. All around them basically they’re being exposed to this election.” said Rocco.

“They’re interested. It’s a historic election either way you put it. You have possibly the first female president or you have a private citizen who may become president which has never happened before,” said Ciccone.

Child psychologist Dr. Laura Saunders says peer pressure can easily influence a middle schooler’s feeling about the candidates and the election. She says parental persuasion is also a key factor.

“If our best friend is into Trump or Clinton. that’s who we’re gonna wanna be like,” said Dr. Saunders.

Saunders say parents need to keep the political education age appropriate.

“As parents we do have some responsibility to help encourage our young people to form their own opinions by using sources of information,” said Saunders.

Elementary aged students can get simple information on kid friendly websites, like Scholastic Kids Press Corps. and TIME for Kids. Saunders says middle schoolers and older teens can handle learning more about the issues each candidate is addressing through watching the news and the debates.

At Hamden Middle School teachers are encouraging the eighth grade students to watch the debate tonight and take notes. There will be discussions in class tomorrow about what they saw.

“I’m definitely gonna watch to see what they’re gonna talk about and how they’re gonna answer the questions and everything,” said eighth grader Cody Colon.

“We live in this country so it is important that we know what’s happening the world,” said Emma Milrad, also an 8th grader.

“i sort of don’t know who to choose cause it seems like one of them is right from one perspective and the other one is also right from the other perspective,” said student Ping Ting Chen.

Hamden Middle School will hold a school wide mock election in November and compare their results with national results.

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