Virtual presidential elections: Kids’ picks

This is a great way to do voter education. Kids' virtual world's "candidates" are Kat De Claw, promising to "rebuild the road from Wildwood Forest to Canal City," and Cecil Sideshuffle, promising to "put an end to the evil Emperor Withering's corruption.” Kidzui, the kids' version of the Web, presents cartoon-y versions of Barack Obama and John McCain and their running mates. Dizzywood's 8-to-12-year-old users register, campaign for their candidates, poll and vote in a special election in-world. They learn critical thinking and "the importance of participating in real-world civic activities," Dizzywood says (they can also find virtual posters and t-shirts at the De Claw and Sideshuffle campaign headquarters). At Kidzui, virtual voting results, interestingly, are matching a recent Gallup poll for the "real world" election: Kidzui members favor Obama by a 10% margin, with Obama at 52% and McCain at 42%. "In addition to befriending their favorite presidential candidates, KidZui lets kids view each candidate’s profile page, which includes [candidates'] sites, videos and pictures," Kidzui reports. Older youth show very different preferences: In Facebook, 78% favor Obama and 22% McCain; in MySpace, Obama's at 81% and McCain 19%, Kidzui says.

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