Don’t show them the money, talk about it

Rebecca Stanisic

First of all, I feel like you have to be of a certain age to understand the reference ‘show me the money’ but sigh. I’m that age.

Secondly, let’s talk about money.

As part of digital media literacy, I think it is important to learn about financial literacy too. As our kids get older and we open bank accounts for them, they get jobs, buy their own items etc., having a sense of financial literacy is a must.

Managing their own budgets (wants versus needs suddenly changes when it’s your own money) is just one place to start. Today, youth are using technology for most of their financial needs, from learning how to manage online purchasing and their own banking apps, to monitoring their savings and chequing accounts, and so much more.

These conversations need to start at home because the lessons at school aren’t always robust.

Admittedly, as a parent it took me far longer than it should have to set up bank accounts for my kids. It’s an easier way to track money, to send them money, and gives them the ability to purchase what they need when they are out and about.

Being able to shop online is an important, needed skill, but learning about e-commerce privacy and safety is as well. Today’s youth often have their own apps to order food, call an Uber, or get purchases sent directly to the house. Gift cards are a good way of introducing younger kids and tweens to money management because they have a clear limit on how you can spend.

As kids get older, their financial education changes and grows with them. Whether they earn money through a job, allowance, or are gifted their spending money, managing it and budgeting (and eventually investing) it does get more intentional with age.

After high school, teens enter a new phase – they become young adults who are building credit scores and will eventually be paying bills in their own name. Financial literacy, and the digital literacy skills that go along with it, needs to begin before then. In my own home, we are about to enter this new stage of life; with a high school graduate stepping into adulthood. I’m glad we’ve had these conversations for some time, but I know there’s more to learn, for all of us.

Need some help? MediaSmarts has a guide for post-secondary students and an entire section in it about money – from avoiding online scammers and identity theft to understanding online privacy policies and the risks of things like online gambling. Download it here.

Other related resources:

If you’d like to learn more about how to shop online safely, check out our workshop Explore Online Shopping and Entertainment