Preparing children to become citizens of a democracy requires recognition of the different ways in which children learn about politics. Kids in the United States currently spend most of their lives in controlled situations such as schools where the dependency they experience in their homes is reinforced. Besides teachers - books, films, television, and video games influence how children think about democracy. Interviews and surveys of children during three Presidential elections and two non-Presidential years show how some sixth-graders in a Vermont town react to the political issues raised in those elections. Besides presenting the children's voices, Sugarman also examines some aspects of the media and of the school situation to see how they effect the children's thinking. Changes that might improve the children's understanding and knowledge of democracy are also suggested. This book should be of interest to parents, teachers, those involved in media literacy, popular culture, and child development.
Sally Sugarman is emeritus faculty from Bennington College where she taught Childhood Studies for thirty-five years.
Chapter 1 The Changing Nature of Childhood and of the Media Chapter 2 The Beginnings of the Study Chapter 3 A Look at Three Elections Chapter 4 Politics and the Media in a Non-Election Year Chapter 5 Books, Textbooks, and the Classroom Chapter 6 The New Media Chapter 7 Educating for Democracy