It was a pleasure to see the record-breaking turnout at the mid-term elections this November and all the talk of engaging the kids earlier in the voting process has been reinforcing everything we believe at Kidizens. There’s a serious consideration in the US to change the voting age to 16. It’s the need of our times to enable young citizens to get engaged and exercise their civic duties and responsibilities early on. It’s believed that if the kids are not engaged in the voting process earlier, they become rather indifferent to the entire democratic process.
It’s a punishable crime to not vote in many countries – a total of 22 countries have
compulsory voting, with Belgium being the oldest and Brazil the largest to enforce
voting. Although we maintain that voting is a civic right like freedom of speech and
has to be left completely to the person’s discretion whether to be exercised or not, but
nevertheless we would like to see many more citizens and kid citizens partake in the
voting process. We believe that Kidizens in our Best Online Summer camps creates the fundamental civic awareness in kids and Kidizens’ highly democratic city-building framework empowers kids to
exercise their voting right in a myriad of situations!
At Kidizens we are developing highly engaged citizens starting at age 6! Every day,
the kidizens endorse their civic right to vote in the Kidizens democracy. They vote
on issues ranging from fundamental policy issues and laws to the level of
taxation that is required, projects/purposes for which government funds are used
e.g. Are Kidizens allowed to keep pets? If so, what are the kind of and how many animals are
allowed; Are weapons allowed; Do the poor and the rich pay the same taxes; Are
there any penalties for cutting down trees; Does the government have the right to
pass such regulations?. Every project approval goes through a formal vote on how
well its proposed plan meets the city needs and the budgetary requirements before
the project gets built – with increasing number of issues needing vote everyday, as
the cities and communities evolve and grow. Each council member gets elected only
after a majority vote that endorses their qualified candidacy.
At Kidizens City Council chambers, the kidizens take important decisions on all issues that affect their city day-to-day. They pass laws, make amendments and vote on various city proposals. They also vote on key measures to keep their city economically and environmentally sound! It’s ‘thick civic engagement’ – as the kidizens work in small groups to discuss different policy or project options, learn the consequences surrounding different paths of action, take decisions as groups and act together in the best long-term interests of their community. Thin engagement often involves individuals, as opposed to groups, taking decisions and typically ends up being short-term.
Our Kidizens become truly engaged stakeholders of their own society over time, as they take many critical decisions for the overall long-term sustainability of the city they create from scratch. These founding fathers want every kid citizen in their city to be involved in every decision-making process, bringing out the shyest of the voices to the forefront of every discussion. With our kidizens dealing with so many issues surrounding their city every day, it is an election day almost every week at Kidizens!