Whether working in a public or an academic setting, or simply getting out in the community, yard signs and political ads bombard our lives during this election year. So how do we help teens navigate the serious issues, avoid bias, and understand the importance of voting?
By providing a variety of sources and creating an environment where teens can both ask questions in a safe environment and obtain accurate, and updated, information. In other words, we keep it professional and try to keep the teens respectful. We remain a library, a classroom, and professional. Here are some helpful election tools for your teens to learn about the election process and this year’s candidates.
Rock the Vote
Rock the vote is the “largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organization” where teens can register to vote, demystifying the myths of what is needed to vote ahead of and on voting day for each state. Celebrities and musicals of various genres are used heavily as PR tools. The goal is to get youth to the polls.
I Side With
I Side With provides a 10 minute quiz that covers foreign policy, environmental issues, social issues, domestic policy, and more. What makes this unlike any other quiz and far better than other quizzes is the depth of each question (Tip: expand each section for additional questions so that you take the full quiz). Don’t feel pressure to know all the topics, the I Side With quiz is prepared to help the most uninformed or confused quiz taker. There is a box in which the issue is explained in a lengthy summary should you need. I was a little surprised at the small percentage difference between my results.
Ted-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing
This Ted-Ed video explains the Electoral College in a quick, informative layout of a Ted Talk. Ted Ed offers lessons from professionals with the entertainment of animators. In this video, teens can learn the difference between the Popular Vote and the Electoral College and how different states have different levels of importance.
Our Time focuses on issues important to teens. The contributors are a vast group of individuals and partners focused on the issues that matter to the youth of America. They identify as “pro-generational” focusing on the majority views of their generation without focusing on political parties. They use the news, trends, and statistics to choose what to cover. If it’s in the public eye or on social media, they will cover it.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch covers human rights issues on a global scale. Human Rights are a local and international issue. Candidates vary in opinions on issues such as the Syrian Refugee, LGTB issues, and National Security. Teens can search by issues or countries, can read for personal use or school use, and they will learn about foreign policies and basic human rights issues on a global scale.
Five Thirty Eight
Five Thirty Eight offers statistics on politics (and sports). Whether you care about primaries or the NBA playoffs, any stats fan or people who want knowledge at a quick glance, will enjoy the instant gratification of this site. There is also an Election Podcast if people prefer. No need to go to the website in that case, just search “fivethirtyeight” in your podcast app.
Real Clear Politics
With Real Clear Politics, politics and recent news are covered on a daily basis. From primary results, interviews, and any news worth reporting, contributing articles are gathered from a variety of newspapers, magazines, and reporters. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but the layout separates topics by clear subjects so it can also be a quick reference. There are also other Real Clear sites: Books, Religion, Health, Science, Market, Technology, and Education.
—Sarah Carnahan, currently reading A School For Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin and The Girl With the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller