How to talk to your kids about negative campaign ads

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MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- During an election year, it's almost impossible for you and your kids to escape aggressive political ads on television, radio, streaming services or social media.

So, how do you talk to your kids about the negative messages?

Dr. Megan Moreno, an adolescent health physician & researcher at UW-Health Kids, said in a charged political climate, reassuring your children about their concerns over political ads is a good first step.

By talking about them it can help your kids sort through the truth and distortion in political ads, Moreno said.

"Ask them, what are they trying to sell you? How do you feel when you watch this and what are other resources you can use to investigate whether what they are saying is true or might be bending the truth," said Moreno.

An important tool to teach your children is "re-Googling", a term Moreno said is used to fact check information they see and hear by searching for different sources of information.

Having these conversations can also be an opportunity to discuss politics in a healthy environment.

"Maybe [your child] asks you, should we vote for this person or that person," said Moreno. "You don't have to answer that question. You can go deeper and say, what do you think are some of the values we would want to vote for. What's the information we would want to seek."

So far this year, there's been an unprecedented level of spending from both parties on political advertisements and unfortunately the number of ads you'll see will only increase closer to Election Day.

UW-Madison Associate Political Science Professor Eleanor Powell said regardless of age or content, campaigns can target individuals pretty easily in Wisconsin.

"They are not necessarily trying to reach kids who are not voters, but sometimes through kids they are trying to reach parents or it's an accidental mistargeting," Powell said.

For more helpful tips for parents you can visit Media Literacy Now.

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