SWHS Students and Political Spam

From students’ perspectives: has political spam gone too far?

SWHS Students and Political Spam

The Daily Beast

Recent Elections have ramped up political spam texts sent out by the campaigns of local politicians in South Windsor, CT as well as Nationwide.

According to The New York Times, 1.29 billion texts from political candidates and their campaigns have circled Americans’ phones since  October.

The Federal Communications Commission layed out a set of rules and guidelines for these messages to be better filtered.

 In order for political robocall messages to be sent, they must require inclusion of: business identity, individual, or other entity providing the call. If the call is from a business or corporate entity, official business name of the group/entity calling, the phone number etc. (FCC).

However, in FCC´s political calls and texts section there is also a spot where the public  can ´learn more´ by visiting fcc.gov/robocalls. ¨Our consumer guide includes tips to help you spot scams and avoid unwanted calls and texts, along with links to call-blocking resource,¨ the FCC explained.

Justifiably,  many American voters are infuriated. But looking beyond the average American, how does this issue impact students?  

In order to accurately represent this issue, The Prowl reached out to various SWHS students through a 5 question survey for better intel on how exactly students feel about this issue. 

In the survey, 36% of students responded that they have received these messages and 64% answered that they had not. 

When asked their opinion on political spam in general, most students were annoyed.  

¨I’m ok with political ads to a point but it gets annoying after a while,¨ one SWHS Senior explained. 

 Another SWHS student added onto this issue by contrasting the impact political spam has on highschoolers v.s Americans of voting age. 

¨It may have an effect on the older generation or people who are able to vote, but many highschoolers aren’t even able to cast a vote or are uninterested, so it becomes annoying,¨ a Junior student added.

50% of students described these messages as both useful and useless to the general public and campaigns of candidates, 42% felt they were useless.

While he is partially annoyed, one student explains that in other ways these messages are useful. 

¨I don’t like getting the messages, but it’s an important way of getting information about the candidates. Good, bad, or otherwise,¨ a junior said.

One of the main reasons some students feel that these messages are so aggravating is due to the fact that many of them produce smears and lies which generally create more harm than good.  

From a scale of 1-10 all students responded that they felt messages included lies/campaign smears on at least a 5; 71% responding that messages would rate at a 7-10 on the scale.

Another junior student explained how she thinks people should be able to run for office without others attacking them. ¨Attack ads are usually useless because they do not further the campaign of either party. It is also just plain annoying”. 

Not just upperclassmen but also SWHS freshmen – who are around 3-4 years away from the voting age of 18 – responded they were receiving messages. Since the majority of SW students are under 18, many are frustrated that students are getting these texts.

One student who had not received any political text messages explained that if he did,  “would feel annoyed being bombarded. As a student, I cannot vote.¨    

¨If I got these messages which I don’t, I would be very frustrated on how and why they have my phone number¨- Senior Jack Huot said.

SWHS students don´t feel these messages are particularly harmful to any campaign, or particularly 

harmful to any candidates reputation with the majority arguing they are mainly just annoying especially since they are unable to vote.

While Students reflected mixed opinions on the usefulness of political spam texts, the majority agree there is a better way to go about how these messages are structured, who they are sent to, and how often they are sent.