Side effect of unlimited screen time: interest in politics

I write a ton about all the things that surprise me when my kids have unlimited screen time. I’ve been surprised that they learned to type, that they learned to spell, and they learned to make movies.

Today I’m surprised that they learned about politics.

We were driving in the car to the butcher and my husband said to me, “I saw you are promoting the Republicans on your blog. Are you voting for Romney?”


“The post about Rob Portman.”

“I was writing about how the candidates obsessively edit their Wikipedia pages when they think they are in the running for vice president. And I’d never vote for Romney.”

“Oh, I thought because you voted for Walker. . .”

That was different.

Our older son pipes up in the back seat: “Did you vote for Walker because you hate schools?”

Younger son: “Remember, just because you hear the commercial doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Older son: “Mom, are you voting for Romney because he will bring us a better tomorrow?”

Me: “No! I’m not voting for Romney. I like Obama, even though he is having trouble getting stuff done.”

Younger son: “President Obama has doubled our investment in scholarships and financial aid. I bet you like that.”

Me: “Where do you guys hear this stuff?”

Both boys: “YouTube!”

Older son: “You have to listen to stuff about elections before you can see the gaming videos.”

Younger son: “Yeah. Especially for Pokemon.”

Older son: “Can we vote soon?”

Younger son: “You have to be eighteen.”

Older son: “Then I’m voting for Obama.”

Younger son: “You can’t vote for Obama. He can’t keep being President that long.”

My husband: “When you’re eighteen I bet you’ll be able to vote for Obama on Dancing with the Stars.”

12 replies
  1. Bec Oakley
    Bec Oakley says:

    That’s so funny! And amazing that the kids know so much.

    There’s no more captive audience than a kid who’s waiting for their game to start. In that ten seconds they’re primed to pay attention to anything that comes on the screen. We should be taking advantage of that. Am considering starting a new philosophy called subliminal schooling…

  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    So funny you write about this today! Sort of out-of-the-blue this morning, my 13 year old asked me about Obama and Romney, too. After reading your post, I asked him if he has to sit through commercials when he wants to play on the internet.

    “Yes.” And then he added, “Just what every kid wants – to watch a commercial about politics just to get to a video about farts.”

    13 year old boys, gotta love them : )

  3. P Flooers
    P Flooers says:

    Overheard on facebook today:

    “Son (walking through the airport terminal): ‘You know, this floor is full of tons and tons of math.'”

    I love unschoolers! Isn’t it all so wonderful?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes. I love your story. And I love the moments like that in my own life because they confirm to me that my kid’s brain is churning in interesting ways and really, that is the goal of homeschooling, so then everything is okay.


  4. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I’m not a fan of sound or video bites if they’re taken at face value. However, they’re useful if they encourage follow-up and some more investigation.
    I recently saw retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on C-Span testify before the Senate Judiciary committee on her efforts to educate young people in civics through her iCivics organization. The iCivics web site ( ) includes 16 educational video games. An educated, informed, and engaged citizenry is what’s most important.

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