Kimberly Palmer: Do Video Games Improve Your Child’s Financial Skills?


Every few days my 8 year old son Neil asks if he can “win something” on Roblox, a popular online video game platform. It’s his way of suggesting that he buy Robux, the platform currency, instead of doing chores and extracurricular activities.

I generally reject such requests, but because of its tenacity, the way the game budgets it for Robux, a scarce resource, and its practice in this virtual world navigates real resources. I wondered if this taught me personal financial lessons, for example if it would help me fall by the wayside. If he’s already training to increase Robux’s budget, is he less likely to waste real money?

Some experts respond with an underlined “yes”. Mark Mazzu is a former banker and stockbroker who teaches on the online education platform Outschool. It uses another popular video game, Minecraft, to help kids learn about economics.

“You see them trade naturally. They get it. Negotiating, exchanging, buying, selling is great, ”he says.

But financial literacy experts also claim that whether kids actually take money lessons through video games depends heavily on how parents tell them about their online experience. There are four conversations needed to help video game enthusiasts develop real money skills.

How to build a financial safety net

Mads raises the question of how to protect student money in online courses. “I ask them, ‘What is the bank doing? Move on to the Minecraft discussion. How can I keep things safe in Minecraft? “In the game, say the players, for example. Use a safe that keeps your valuables safe, just like a bank account.

This can lead to discussions about saving money. Mads suggests putting it together in a relevant way. “Once you have 64 coals and pavers, you don’t want to use up everything you can find. You want to get rid of it. Why not put 10% in your chest and use the rest? Mads said. to say. “It’s a great way to teach kids how to save,” he adds.

Rewards and challenges of entrepreneurship

Laura Van der Kam, author of “Off the Clock” and mother of five children under the age of 15, said her children were money from the Roblox Tycoon game theme park, where players build and manage a park. of attractions. I say I took the lesson.

“Unless you run a full-fledged lemonade stand, there are a lot of real corporate award decisions that kids don’t really get the chance to make,” says Van der Kam.

She says parents can take those lessons home by asking their kids about the game and drawing similarities in the real world.

“People are obsessed with the negative aspects of screen time, but there are a lot of interesting lessons to be learned,” says Van der Kam.

Value for money

Susan Beacham, CEO and founder of financial education company MoneySavvy Generation, warns that video games often emphasize superficial purchases such as virtual decorations and avatar dress-up. But she also says they can provide a way for parents to bring up the offensive topic of money with their children.

Parents can report shortcomings in the game, such as currencies that cannot be used, invested, given or stored only in interest-bearing accounts. “If you want them to learn a lesson, you have to tell them about it,” she said.

Beacham also suggests that children use their allowances to earn money or buy cryptocurrency to play games.

“The kids take your money all day. You have to create a shortage and make them make choices. This is not the case when they spend their money, ”she said. Then she suggests following up later and asking if they think the cost is worth the profit. “Now you are teaching your child about money and value. “

How to budget and compromise

Jeff Haynes, editor-in-chief of web and video games at CommonSense Media, a nonprofit that promotes safe technology and media for children and families, says the money lessons can be started even before the game is not played. .. Children should consider the cost of the game and why they prefer one game to another.

“Whether you ask for a giveaway or keep whatever title you want, there’s the allocation of the funding and the negotiations with your parents,” he says.

Many popular games include a fixed amount to purchase from virtual stores, merchants, and avatar crowns and skins. Haynes says players need to think about how to earn enough coins to get the item they want.

Haynes suggests that parents drive these compromises at home by asking questions. How are you going to save money to get it? “

Now when Neil asks me for Rovacs, I think of a way to make sure he really wins that currency. I want him to internalize the idea that Robux, like real money, is a scarce resource and not obvious. Besides letting him earn Robux for housework and extra homework, I ask him to explain to him what he gets from the purchase and why it is worth it. Ask you.

He told me he thought this strategy was working. “It tells us not to abuse Robux, and in the Tycoon games we have learned to save something very expensive.”

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