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Kimberly Palmer: Do Video Games Level Up Your Child's Money Skills? –

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

I usually reject these requests, but due to his tenacity, how the game budgets him for Robux, a rare resource, and his practice in this virtual world navigates real resources. I wondered if it taught me personal financial lessons, such as whether it would help me to gate. If he’s already practicing to grow Robux’s budget, is he less likely to waste real dollars?

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

“You see them trading naturally. They get it. Negotiating, trading, buying, selling—that’s great,” he says.

But financial literacy experts also say that whether children really take money lessons through video games depends heavily on how parents talk to them about their online experience. There are four conversations needed to help video game lovers develop real money skills.

How to make a financial safety net

Mads raises the question of how to keep money safe with students in online classes. “I ask them,’What does the bank do?’ Move to the Minecraft discussion.” How can I keep things safe in Minecraft? “In the game, players say, for example. Use a chest that keeps your valuable items safe, just like a bank account.

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

Entrepreneurship Rewards and Challenges

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 game theme park Tycoon, where players build and run an amusement park. I say I took the lesson.

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

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

“People are obsessed with the negative aspects of screen time, but there are many cool lessons to learn,” says Van der Kam.

Value of money

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

Parents can bring up the shortcomings of the game, for example, currencies that cannot be used, invested, donated, or stored only in interest-bearing accounts. “If you want them to learn a lesson, you have to talk to them about it,” she says.

Beacham also proposes to have children use their allowances to make money or buy cryptocurrencies to play games.

“Children take your money all day long. You have to create shortage and make them face choices. That’s not the case when they spend their money,” she says. Then she suggests to follow up later and ask if they think the cost is worth the profit. “Now you are teaching your child about money and value.”

How to make a budget and make trade-offs

Jeff Haynes, senior editor of web and video games at CommonSense Media, a non-profit organization that promotes safe technology and media for kids and families, says money lessons can be started even before the game is played. .. Children need to consider the cost of the game and why they prefer one game to another.

“Whether you’re asking for a gift or saving the title you want, there’s funding allocation and negotiations with your parents,” he says.

Many popular games include a fixed amount of money to buy virtual stores, merchants, and avatar crowns and skins. Haynes says players need to consider how to earn enough coins to get the item they want.

Haynes suggests that parents drive those trade-offs home by asking questions. How are you going to save to get it? “

Now, when Neil asks me for Rovacs, I think of a way to make sure he really earns that currency. I want him to internalize the idea that Robux, like real money, is a scarce resource and not a matter of course. In addition to letting him earn Robux for housework and additional homework, I ask him to explain to him what he is getting from the purchase and why it is worth the cost. Ask you.

He told me that he thinks this strategy is working. “It tells us not to overuse Robux, and in Tycoon games we learned how to save something really expensive.”

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