'Start At The Dinner Table'–Expert Tips To Guide Your Young Voter'We try to listen reflectively to what they have to say'by Dahl D. Bennett .
According to the Commission on Elections or COMELEC, 56% of the voters this May, 9, 2022 are youth voters. In numbers, that’s equivalent to a total of 37,015,901 who fall under the age bracket of 18-41years old.
Part of this huge number are first-time voters who can be overwhelmed not only with the sheer number of candidates from presidentiables to local officials but where to start in choosing who to vote for.
Listen and validate
Dr. Gail R. Galang, chair of the Family Studies Program and associate director of the Center for Peace Education both under Miriam College, is a mom to a first time voter. She regards the dinner table as a great venue to start conversation on politics.
“For my kids who are eligible to vote, we openly discuss politics over dinner. Though they usually embrace the same candidates we root for, we still try to listen reflectively to what they have to say about certain candidates and issues,” she says.
During dinner discussion she and her husband try to refrain from lecturing and listen to their children’s thoughts on politics and on certain candidates “so they will not withdraw from us,” she points out. It helps that Dr. Galang is part of Voters’ Education forums online, producing a series of talks on how to vote wisely this 2022.
In the process of guiding her children, she learns along the way. “Many times, I am surprised at how they can analyze complex issues and because they are online more often, I am also able to have an idea of what news is trending daily [because of them],” she says.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
At times she and her husband also find themselves navigating the election campaign developments with their kids. “Sometimes, we are dumbfounded at how some candidates/followers would try to cancel the other through a tasteless online propaganda, so we take the time to process our kids as a form of de-briefing because we don't want our children to lose heart on what may be the biggest election of their lives.”
Educating voters through online platforms
Outside of the dinner table, there’s a wealth of other venues and platforms that parents can use to guide their first time voters as they giddily navigate their way around politics, elections, candidates, and learn about what it means to have the ‘power’ to vote.
Here, Dr. Galang enumerates the different platforms she uses to educate her children, especially her first-time voter.
1. Family group chats
Family group chats are a great way to pursue political discussion outside the dinner table. Through the platform, parents and first-time voters have an opportunity to exchange news, photos, and updates regarding certain candidates.
She also adds that it gives parents the opportunity to validate their children’s observations, so they feel confident about their own choices. “Sometimes, even if I already know the answer, I ask questions to check the level of their understanding on certain issues raised by netizens,” she says.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
2. Online forum
“Since I am actively involved in producing voter's ed online forums and since they see me attending political campaigns, I invite them to listen in so they can get first-hand information from the candidates themselves,” says Dr. Galang.
3. Social media
As a family, the Galangs follow national rallies through social media where the children can listen to the platforms and legislative agenda of the candidates. “I noticed that young people could spot bias instantly, so I like presenting issues and probing about what different candidates have to say about it.”
As a family, they discuss issues like political dynasty, corruption, good governance, professional competence, poor public health, lack of employment in the light of how different candidates address–or divert from–these issues.
The beauty of this upcoming election is that everything about the candidates are accessible–from their campaign rallies, resumes, performances as officials in the past, to how they fared in debates.
As parents, we just have to use them wisely to guide our children in identifying a true and capable leader worthy of our children’s precious vote.
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