Empirical Study: Indoctrinated US Climate Activist Kids can be Used to Influence their Conservative Parents

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the abstract this propaganda technique, indoctrinating children with educational material deliberately designed to help them influence parents, is particularly effective on Conservative men when the influencer is their daughter.

Children can foster climate change concern among their parents

Published: 06 May 2019

Danielle F. LawsonKathryn T. StevensonM. Nils PetersonSarah J. CarrierRenee L. Strnad & Erin Seekamp 

The collective action that is required to mitigate and adapt to climate change is extremely difficult to achieve, largely due to socio-ideological biases that perpetuate polarization over climate change. Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action. Child-to-parent intergenerational learning—that is, the transfer of knowledge, attitudes or behaviours from children to parents — may be a promising pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern. Here we present an experimental evaluation of an educational intervention designed to build climate change concern among parents indirectly through their middle school-aged children in North Carolina, USA. Parents of children in the treatment group expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group. The effects were strongest among male parents and conservative parents, who, consistent with previous research, displayed the lowest levels of climate concern before the intervention. Daughters appeared to be especially effective in influencing parents. Our results suggest that intergenerational learning may overcome barriers to building climate concern.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0463-3

Sadly the study is paywalled, so we don’t know who in North Carolina authorised this experiment, and whether parents gave full informed consent before their children were used by greens as social engineering guinea pigs.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
May 6, 2019 8:24 pm

In Nazi Germany, children were taught to inform on and betray their parents’ anti-Nazi views. This latest Global Warming/Climate Change idea comes straight from the same political source.

Irritable Bill
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 6, 2019 9:12 pm

Re Nicholas comments about the Nazis using these “methods”… Angela Merkel was a Stasi highflyer in the days of the East German horror and has recently been advocating having children inform their teachers and other authorities if their parents or others should commit hate speech crimes….this would include “climate denial.”

Pancake rachel corrie
Reply to  Irritable Bill
May 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Women made the most adherent nazis

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 7, 2019 9:26 am

Having children to inform on their parents is SOP in most communist countries.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 7, 2019 1:12 pm

This is why I support full public school defunding. It’s ironic that they defend the one holdover of the 19th century that hasn’t worked outside of the 20th. It is basically just a welfare program for a very entitled, gilded group of mostly liberal arts majors.

Reply to  Jim
May 12, 2019 2:00 pm

Jim, Thanks for “getting it”! However, I think you may be offending “conservative” parents who still, foolishly, send their children to government monopoly bureaucratic “public” schools. Please continue to do so.

Joel O'Bryan
May 6, 2019 9:00 pm

Conservative parents should kick their indoctrinated male children in the scrotum, tell them to get a job, raise a family, support it with your paycheck, and then they’ll stop worrying about a non-problem.
If they do raise a family (most especially teen-age girls) , they’ll find that worrying about 2degC global climate change (less than the temp difference between yesterday and today in many places) or the livelihood a river bait fish that’s been around for millions of years of climate change , 80 years is not such a big deal.

As for their female children, something similar emotionally, but without the physical gonad impact that us guys need.

Life is hard and uncertain. It ALWAYS has been. Nothing new under the sun.
Stop raising snowflakes.

May 6, 2019 9:05 pm

I call BS on this.
Sounds like yet another absurd ”study” of no consequence made by a bunch of ”just out of Uni” women with an axe to grind about inequality or some such concern.

Reply to  Mike
May 7, 2019 6:33 am

I suspect the method — pre- and post-indoctrination surveys, small sample size, one school district, short-term (i.e., no long-term follow-up to see if “results” are only transitory).

Reply to  Gary
May 7, 2019 9:28 am

How did the determine the “attitude” of the parents, pre and post study?
If as I suspect, the attitudes were merely the reports of the students, then the desire of the subjects of this study to report the results the researchers are after can’t be dismissed.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Mike
May 7, 2019 6:58 am

If you check out the schools here in our area they are already indoctrinating the kids in the CAGW meme and have been for several years now. My better half worked as a substitute teacher 6 or 7 years ago and movies in the class room on CAGW were common place, even back then.

Zack aa
Reply to  Joe Crawford
May 7, 2019 11:14 am

Mark and Joe Crawford, Precisely.
And what underlues it is terrible presumption, that my kids need only to learn how to advocate, dead stop. Social justice, diversity, global warming, take your pick. They labels need not be understood, debated or examined, just advocate in pursuit of the twitterfeed cause du jour.
The opportunity cost of school time wasted on this mindset instead of say debating the risk/reward of ever increasing CA’s trillion dollar unfunded pension liabilities, or whether rural electrification in Africa would raise living standards for humnas alive right now. Is cobalt mining “cleaner” than fracking? Is it righteous to deny school choice to poor kids trapped in terrible public schools? Its never about making choices between competing demands but learning that the “correct” solution is this, all we require of you is advocacy.

May 6, 2019 9:06 pm

I love you daddy. Yeah, how much money do you want?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Alex
May 7, 2019 9:34 am

A T-bird?

Eric Stevens
May 6, 2019 9:15 pm

I don’t know how much influence these indoctrinated kids will have on their parents but it is very likely many of them will grow up to be indoctrinated adults.

Reply to  Eric Stevens
May 7, 2019 1:37 am

Good thing we know children have a rebellious way not accepting the adult world so this could backfire when they have to live in CO2 induced poverty.

May 6, 2019 9:25 pm

Other than an occasional trivial factoid, my children never imparted any knowledge or wisdom to me — let alone cause a damascene change in my thinking.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
May 7, 2019 2:21 pm

However, I’ve had some friends who definitely changed from conservative to liberal when their very pretty daughters hit college. They had been raised in Catholic schools until high school. Taught the ABCs until then, and all three kids (one boy) were valedictorians in high school, and were students at Berkeley, Redlands, and San Luis Obispo. Two now with PhDs in nuclear physics, and one with a Masters in Math and Computer Sci. The boy is conservative.

I’m not dead sure how conservative my friend really was. We were pretty much in unison for years, spending lunches together almost daily. The first indication of change was climate. He advised me against this site, as it was an “echo chamber” and didn’t seem to understand the importance of “consensus”. That latter applied to all science. While I agreed that if you don’t know a subject, it is safest to go with the consensus. But we both had degrees in physics, and that is plenty of background to be able to understand climate science.

I think. Then again, Mucho Kooky on Fox is a firm believer is AGW, if not CAGW. Don’t see how if you just try to do the math. Even if you ignore the crazy outliers (“No snow”, “10m SL rise”, etc.).

Ancient Wrench
May 6, 2019 9:38 pm

How can anyone take this paper seriously when the lead author is from the “Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management” at NC State.

Reply to  Ancient Wrench
May 6, 2019 11:07 pm

I have had to go to my sons school at least once a year to talk with his Dean of students about this nonsense effecting his grades in science. I told them in no uncertain terms their beliefs are not my concern. He wrote a great paper on Grand Solar Minimums and the theory of how the sun can influence the climate along with long term ocean currents. He was promptly given an F for not incorporating CO2 as tbe primary driver of climate instead of it’s bit player role. My answer was prove him wrong.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  David
May 7, 2019 4:39 am

So you get an “F” nowadays for not toeing the party line. Isn’t that interesting. How rigid does a mind have to be to do that to a kid?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 7, 2019 4:37 pm

These are the same minds that see no conflict between advocating for freedom of speech, while demanding that every website that they disagree with be banned and or shut down.
These are the same minds that see no conflict between advocating for a freedom to speak your mind, while demanding that anyone who doesn’t strictly follow the party line be fired.

May 6, 2019 9:43 pm

Best way for the parents to handle this kind of teenager is to comply wholeheartedly. No more new clothes until the old ones are well and visibly worn out, no new phones, no car rides to school (”son, this contraption here was called a ’bicycle’ and today I’ll teach you how to operate it”). No more holiday trips to faraway destinations (”I enrolled you kids to a three-week nature club summer camp on the nearby peat bog”). No more hobbies that involve a lot of fossile energy (”I traded your snowboard for a chessboard”)…

I don’t see how the world and our youth would not be saved this way!

J Mac
Reply to  JR
May 6, 2019 10:16 pm

I think you have it just right!

Reply to  JR
May 7, 2019 5:36 am


Make ’em walk, bicycles require fossil fuels in the manufacture.

Better still, make ’em walk barefoot since bicycles and shoes require fossil fuels in the manufacture.

Reply to  MangoChutney
May 7, 2019 6:11 am

Forty miles to school through the snow; uphill both ways.

John Endicott
Reply to  MangoChutney
May 7, 2019 6:12 am

yeah let them walk to/from school barefoot, through the snow, uphill, both ways like the old folks did when they were kids. Oh wait, snow is supposed to be a thing of the past, so the kids these days won’t know what snow is. right? well, still make them walk barefoot, uphill, both ways.

Dr Bob
May 6, 2019 10:38 pm

Lawson, Danielle F.
Stevenson, Kathryn T.
Peterson, M. Nils
Carrier, Sarah J.
L. Strnad, Renee
Seekamp, Erin

DOI: 10.1038/s41558-019-0463-3
Children can foster climate change concern among their parents

Reply to  Dr Bob
May 12, 2019 12:32 pm

Can we find their institutions? I want to know what IRB was okay with this.

R. de Haan
May 6, 2019 10:39 pm

It happened in China where it was called the Cultural Revolution.
Massive famine, massive deaths and the kids ratting out on their parents.
It’s all new wine in old bags.
Don’t you forget it.

Reply to  R. de Haan
May 6, 2019 10:48 pm

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Developmental Misalignment forced by would-be mortal gods. Followed by one-child. We have selective-child, and recycled-child for social and medical progress, respectively, under planned parenthood. The other prominently left-wing movement also had a Pro-Choice regime for select men, women, and children, and Mengele experiments.

May 6, 2019 11:27 pm

Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler. They always went for the kids first…

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
Reply to  MattS
May 7, 2019 1:27 am

And where are they now?

Do you remember at school the constant indoctrination about abstaining from sex. Sure, some kids soak up the propaganda that’s forced on them, much as some kids want to buy everything they see in adverts. Some kids are highly susceptible and can be (ab)used by the like of Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler & now climate cultists.

But most kids are pretty sceptical of what adults tell them. And whilst the cultists may have a few years in power, history shows the sceptics win out.

Reply to  MattS
May 7, 2019 2:41 am

You forgot Catholic Church

Reply to  Alex
May 7, 2019 5:37 am

All religions

Reply to  Alex
May 7, 2019 1:27 pm

You naysayers keep forgetting- the philosophical debate is between Belief and Facts. Two different parts of the human mind. Two different, non-intersecting ways of viewing reality.

Going whole hog on Facts led to the 100 years war, countless other wars, Marxism, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other homicidal autocrats. They also killed upwards of 200 million people.

Unbridled belief also led to wars, murder, witches, and much propaganda. Today Belief is much used in the Muslim world as an excuse for atrocities. There haven’t been many other religious wars, at least in the West since about 1700. That includes the American Revolution, the American Civil War, Russian Revolution.

Reply to  Philo
May 12, 2019 2:11 pm

“People should tell the truth.” Is this statement a fact or a belief?

May 7, 2019 12:39 am

I have some American friends who say their children sometimes actually start crying when regurgitating the Leftist doom and gloom CAGW propaganda they’re being indoctrinated with at school, on the Internet and on TV….

These poor brainwashed kids unfortunately believe they don’t have a future, which is a very dangerous. This despicable brainwashing is having a terrible emotional and psychological effect on our youth– i.e. why apply oneself to any endeavor in life if we’re all going to soon die from CAGW?

This despicable and erroneous Leftist brainwashing on our kids is one of the reasons I know the blowback against the Left will be epic once the CAGW hypothesis is exposed as one of the biggest and most expensive Leftist hoaxes in human history..

Irritable Bill.
Reply to  SAMURAI
May 7, 2019 2:26 am

Hi Samurai, I think I have some of your swords…Trump is on the verge of a fight back against these vermin now the Russia investigation is done, and will show the world what these people are, he appears to be working towards the same with the great global warming hoax and is setting the stage to investigate….”The Science.”
Naturally the “scientists” will do everything they can to stop it, which tells you all you need to know. I cant wait.
Does anyone out there know how that is going?

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 7, 2019 9:16 am

“These poor brainwashed kids unfortunately believe they don’t have a future, which is a very dangerous.”

Take a generation of kids;
First, tell them there is no higher moral authority;
Second, convince them that there is no future beyond the immediate;
Third, run away.

(it’s a good thing it is not the whole generation of kids….)

Berndt Koch
May 7, 2019 12:42 am

This is disgusting.. who are these people to think this could be a good idea. They need to be locked up for child abuse.

Reply to  Berndt Koch
May 7, 2019 1:47 am

Don’t forget the progressive controlled ‘free’ press. So it is a good thing children no longer watch television or read newspapers.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
May 7, 2019 1:21 am

These kinds of “studies” reflect the mentality of the authors … in that they are easily swayed by what their daughters views. But climate sceptics (who they think is the same as “conservatives”) are dictated by the science and evidence, and when the science and evidence does not support the climate cult, no amount of badgering from indoctrinated children is going to budge a sceptic one inch.

Indeed, what seems to be a much more common phenomenon is that kids often reject the ideas that teachers and others impose on them. And indeed, the more people try to indoctrinate children, the more rebellious they become. So, I’m very much expecting this present indoctrination of kids will trigger a very strong counter-culture which will have the passion to end the global warming cult.

John Endicott
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
May 7, 2019 6:18 am

Indeed. It’s more of the lefts “if only we package the message the right way” in this case they’re packaging the message using the children as the delivery method. The packaging doesn’t matter. No matter how you package a turd, it’s still a turd. skeptics are skeptics because they find the so-called science lacking. putting a pretty bow on it doesn’t fix the fact that the so-called science is still found to be lacking.

May 7, 2019 1:49 am

I recall, back in the day, when every student was waving Chairman Mao’s little red book and generally causing mayhem – one educational establishment instantly created a compulsory study module on the subject. The same students very quickly caused mayhem protesting about having to study it seriously. Perhaps we can learn something from this?

May 7, 2019 2:06 am

If anything, this indoctrination policy proves (with all other sectarian behaviors relative to climate science) that AGW is not the result of actual scientific studies (which would be falsifiable, questionable, would stand observations based on actual data, etc.) but is a nonsensical pseudo-science cult that some snake oil salesmen try to impose as a truth.

James Clarke
May 7, 2019 2:11 am

Yes, The kids hold their breath until their parents believe in Catastrophic Climate Change.

Reply to  James Clarke
May 7, 2019 11:11 am


May 7, 2019 3:33 am

Here is a more detailed article that explains what happened

IMO the key part is: “For the study, researchers worked with middle school science teachers to incorporate a climate change curriculum into their classrooms.”

It’s also fascinating that the activists behind this went to pains to absolve themselves or their propagandized students from being correctly labelled as activists: “To be clear, climate change education is about giving people a good foundation in climate science and cultivating critical thinking skills. This is about education, not activism, and children are great educators.”

Note that statement was made by Kathryn Stevenson, co-author of the paper. She is an assistant professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State.

Wow, an assistant professor of parks, recreation and tourism management is educating students and parents on Climate Change…

old white guy
May 7, 2019 4:38 am

The terminally stupid now have influence in our world, say it isn’t so.

Tom Abbott
May 7, 2019 5:00 am

The Alarmists claim we only have 12 more years.

When these kids are 12 years older they will become disillusioned when nothing dire happens and they will turn into skeptics. Too bad they have to suffer through the next 12 years worrying about CAGW hobgoblins before realizing there are no hobgoblins to worry about.

John Endicott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 7, 2019 6:21 am

Possibly. After all many who grew up during “the coming ice age” scare of the 1970s where more likely to be skeptical of the “global warming” scare of the 1980s that followed it than the folks who grew up during the later.

Bruce Cobb
May 7, 2019 5:02 am

“Daddy, climate change is real and is killing people and animals and trees and bees, and if you don’t believe it, then you’re just a stupid denier”.
“Yes, dear. Now go finish your homework. That’s my good little princess.”

Steve Borodin
May 7, 2019 5:19 am

Vladimir Lenin:

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

Young Pioneers, Hitler Youth, Red Guards … We call it child abuse and we should lock people up for it.

May 7, 2019 5:32 am

I just read this full report and now feel like I need to go take a shower. What we have here is a NOAA funded work (via a SEAGRANT) on how to expand Dr. Goebbels work into propaganda to create the 1000 year climate Reich. It starts with a full-throated over-excited recitation of the worst-case RCP modeling as received truth and gets worse from there.

However, I don’t know what else I would expect from “research” from a College of Education. Communist indoctrination is most of the curriculum there anyway.

Kevin kilty
May 7, 2019 5:39 am

Indeed. My daughter comes home with propaganda, but it is so whimpy that the influence in this house goes the other way. Look out public schools.

May 7, 2019 5:49 am

This is an artifact of modern “parenting” wherein both the parents and the children are very confused about their roles in the relationship.

Easy fix:
Daughter: “I’ve learned in school that we’re killing the planet and we need to worry about global warming”
Dad: “Very well. Tomorrow you start walking or riding your bike everywhere you go. No more electricity, no more electronics and I’m turning off the heat and air conditioning in your room…let me know when you’re done saving the planet.”

May 7, 2019 6:26 am

Daughter: Daddy, we have to save the earth by fighting climate change!

Father: The earth and the climate will be just fine.

Daughter: I hate you!

Father: Good. That means I’m doing my job…

Reply to  Gary
May 7, 2019 1:25 pm


May 7, 2019 6:31 am

This only works if the mental development of the kids is held constant and neither age group adapts with new information and only uses approved propaganda materials.

…..little things like that

Rhys Jaggar
May 7, 2019 6:40 am

Indoctrination requires ignorance. Labour-voting members of my greater family accept Labour propaganda uncritically without educating themselves and try to tell me they know better than I do. It takes about ten minutes to ascertain they know Foxtrot Alpha about the subject and even when presented with contradictory evidence, they overtly reject it to retain their mantras.

If the Conservative men can be influenced by daughters, it says they are not sure of their intellectual ground…..or they think their daughter will not love them unless she is their perfect little princess who has daddy wrapped around her little finger….

If I had a child coming home spouting warming propaganda, I would see it as an opportunity to build a relationship by examining the subject in greater detail…..and also exposing my child to conflicting evidence bases, thus requiring them to learn to sift, evaluate, judge, explore further snd identify key questions needing to be answered….

May 7, 2019 8:51 am

Here’s a bit more detail about the … “study”:


Oh no, it was done at NC State — I went there for a few semesters, long ago.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 7, 2019 9:23 am

The outcome of the study is that “Propaganda can be an effective tool for third party indoctrination”.

Nothing new here.

May 7, 2019 9:11 am

The collective action that is required to mitigate and adapt to climate change is extremely difficult to achieve, largely due to socio-ideological biases that perpetuate polarization over climate change.

“Socio-idiological biases that perpetuate polarization” ?
TRANSLATION: scientifically determined facts that prevent irrational exaggeration.

Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action.

TRANSLATION: Because climate change perceptions in children are more easily molded by irrational adult worldviews arising in a political context, it is possible for them to guilt adults into adopting equally irrational concerns, leading to equally irrational collective action.

Child-to-parent intergenerational learning—that is, the transfer of knowledge, attitudes or behaviours from children to parents — may be a promising pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern.

TRANSLATION: Parasitizing child-to-parent connections — that is, convincing parents that children (with child-like knowledge) are the correct teachers — may be a promising pathway to sidestepping proper intellectual treatment of climate concern.

GREG in Houston
May 7, 2019 9:19 am
May 7, 2019 10:12 am

It also works the other way around…

We (conservatıve men) are pretty powerful influences in our daughter’s maturation-of-adult-values. I have a 32 year old daughter, and tho’ she went to preppy HS and University institutions, and has a PhD to boot… she has completely resisted the indoctrination that comes with such long academic brainwashing. She definitely is not a card-carrying conservatıve by any means. But neither is she a fountain-of-banality like essentially all her life friends and academic colleagues.

I was successful, it seems.

It is NOT necessary for our kith and kin to be card-carrying Conservatives. It is vitally important that they’re NOT zombie Libtårds. Vital. I’m proud to have achieved that.

Just saying,
GoatGuy ✓

Joel Snider
May 7, 2019 12:08 pm

I wonder how many husbands are out there toiling away so his wife and kids can destroy the livelihood they depend on?
Unfortunately, these guys are usually the least interested in the politics their own families are enabling.

Alan D. McIntire
May 7, 2019 12:13 pm

I remember MY early teens- we weren’t exactly whole hog on agreeing with what our elders told us. I suspect that there is no more respect for authority NOW among teenagers.

Major Meteor
May 7, 2019 12:28 pm

My daughter is going to get an an education from a lot of WUWT articles. I really hate how they are depressing the kids by saying we have less than 12 years to solve this “crisis”.

Lawrence Barden
May 7, 2019 2:04 pm

The Methods section of the study starts with this ethics statement:

Ethics statement. Data collection procedures were approved by North Carolina
State University’s Institutional Review Board (Protocol #7793). Informed consent
was received directly from each adult participant before their participation in
the research. Parental consent was received from each child’s parent before child
participation in the research.

May 11, 2019 5:52 pm

ARS Tehnica has a bit more information about the manuscript.

May 13, 2019 10:56 am

Limbaugh just mentioned this article on his radio show today.


Ditto Kopf
Reply to  sycomputing
May 13, 2019 4:07 pm

Yes he did but he characterized ‘What’s Up With That’ (sic) as a web-site that answers people’s questions. I am assuming he is unaware of the correct spelling and purpose of WUWT.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights