My wife and I are very fortunate to have six grandkids, ages 2 through almost 9. Of course, they are cute, funny, savvy, articulate and very smart just as any proud grandparents would report.

But we are very concerned about what they are learning. And not just school learning, although as a former middle and high school teacher, I expect them to receive incredible learning opportunities in all their school experiences. But those aren’t the learning opportunities I am concerned about here. What are kids learning simply by living in the U.S. in 2022?

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that in the last 8-10 years, public discourse has changed dramatically — and not for the better. The amount of false information, fake news, conspiracy theories and outright lies that young people are exposed to every day has increased exponentially. Seeing and hearing adults whom they depend on for guidance and direction belittling and demeaning others is tremendously confusing and disorienting.

What do we tell them when a former president and dozens of U.S. senators, representatives and governors claim the 2020 election was “stolen” even though there is no evidence to prove that claim? What about political ads that when fact-checked are not just misrepresentations but are outright lies? And what about the Jan. 6 insurrection when large numbers of U.S. citizens broke into and desecrated the U.S. Capitol building and threatened elected officials with bodily harm? What do we expect our children to make of these actions?

With the U.S. so politicized, so split, as we are reminded every day by news reports, Facebook posts, Twitter accounts, videos and so much more, what are kids learning by what they hear adults say to each other, about each other and how they act and treat each other?

As parents, grandparents, and other concerned adults, what is our responsibility to help young people learn to understand fact from fiction and differentiate truth from lies?


Here are several things adults, parent and grandparents can do to help young people make sense of today’s world:

1. Too much inappropriate and even outrageous behavior has become “normalized”. We are no longer shocked, even if we are dismayed, with the most recent claim. With the firehose of information hitting us full-on every day, many of us have learned to tune-out much of it. This is why it is so important to discuss news and events as they happen with our young people. We don’t need to exclaim or respond to everything, but we do need to show our kids that some claims and pronouncements are not correct even if made by someone in power.

2. Don’t forget that your kids are watching you — their parents, grandparents, or aunts/uncles — to see how you are making decisions about information you take in. Even if you don’t say anything about the decision-making process you use, they are watching you to figure out what and how you are thinking. So, a very helpful thing for you to do is talk with your kids and grandkids about the thought processes you use to make sense of current issues in the news. For example, what is your understanding of the Jan. 6 insurrection and what resources helped you to educate yourself about it.

3. Another helpful activity Is to watch news clips of political leaders and compare what is being said about those two and the issue on different TV networks. How can two senators, for example, show such different viewpoints on the same issue. Watch two sides of the spectrum, maybe Fox News on the right, and NPR on the left and compare their coverage of the same issue. Help your young person learn to recognize the language that each side uses to describe the same event.

4. Use specific vocabulary to describe how people talk about issues. Point out techniques that people use to persuade others; like name-calling, stacking the deck, testimonials and others. We used to talk about advertising to show how people are persuaded to do something. Now we talk about politics. Pull out examples of these techniques our of TV news and print medium as well.

5. Introduce young people to news sources that are fair and unbiased. Use the two different versions of the media bias charts in the resources below to select news sources that they can count on for accurate reporting based on facts.


Not surprisingly, there are all sorts of excellent resources for parents and other adults to help as we deal with issues that arise relative to technology, social media, and making decisions based on the best possible information. Take a look at the short list of resources below to find many ideas for starting that conversation with your kids or grandkids. Each resource has a comprehensive website with many great resources for parents so take a look today.

What kind of a world will my grandkids have to deal with as they approach their pre-teen, teen, and beyond years? We can help them learn to make good decisions, but we need to start now.


Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart (

Allsides Media Bias Chart (

Center for Media & Social Impact (

Common Sense Media. (

Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy (

For more tips and information to make your digital life easier, visit BoomerTECH Adventures at Subscribe to their YouTube Channel for lots of free video tutorials at

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