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Kids Voting USA

Many adolescents in the United States reside in apolitical cocoons in which friends and parents rarely talk about public affairs. Everyday life is structured by exposure to music, online chat, and television, but news media are shunned. Thus, the problem of youth civic disengagement represents in part the quandary of how to circulate political communication within families and peer networks.

Prior studies on adults have described “obstinate audiences” and “chronic know nothings,” while less attention has been devoted to overcoming barriers in the diffusion of political stimulation among young citizens. However, the Kids Voting USA (KVUSA) curriculum has provided researchers with opportunities for exploring the interactions of schools, media, and families in the generation of political discussion.

KVUSA began as a pilot program in 1988 after three ...

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