Should Teens Play Video and Online Games?

According to a new survey from Capital One Financial Corporation, 56 percent of teens say they spend 30 minutes or more playing video or online games on average each day, with 18 percent spending over two hours gaming.

Over half (58 percent) of teens say that the games they play are at least sometimes educational, and 76 percent of the young people polled believe that educational gaming is a great way for them to learn.

In an effort to help young people learn about money management and financial decision-making through this effective method, Capital One and Junior Achievement launched Monday a new online financial literacy simulation that introduces young people to personal financial planning and career exploration.

Based on Junior Achievement’s financial education curriculum for middle and high-school students, JA Finance Park Virtual gives students a glimpse of what it takes to be successful in the 21st century global marketplace, says the company.

Through JA Finance Park Virtual, students design personalized avatars and are assigned a randomly generated life-scenario, including a fictional job, age, income, educational background and family.

Based on that scenario, students are then tasked with meeting real-life needs such as successfully developing a budget, maintaining a household and pursuing a career. There are two versions of JA Finance Park Virtual, one that students can experience on any computer with Internet access and another version that schools can provide through the classroom in conjunction with Junior Achievement’s four-week money-management curriculum.

“Financial literacy is a critical life skill for everyone, with something to learn at every age, but research shows that many students don’t understand the basic principles of personal finance, and this can impact their future success,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA.

“The hands-on practical money-management skills provided through JA Finance Park Virtual are applicable to real life situations and help students set and reach financial goals both now and as adults.”

Capital One’s survey findings suggest that American families regularly play games together and educational games can be a great way for parents to start important conversations about topics like financial planning and budgeting with their children.

  • Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of parents of teens report playing online, video or board games with their teens at least once a month with one-quarter (26 percent) playing games together at least weekly.
  • Half (49 percent) of parents surveyed say that they play video and online games with their teens.
  • Over half (55 percent) of teens surveyed say that they would like to learn more about how to manage their money, but 50 percent of teens say that their parents talk to them about money once a month or less.

Braun Research was engaged to conduct 1163 interviews in 653 households with 653 parents of teenagers ages 11 through 17 years old and 510 teenagers ages 11-17 years old across the United States. Surveys were conducted by telephone from June 18-30, 2011.

It was announced Monday, August 8.

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Rakesh Raman