Parents now must consider themselves, “When is the proper moment to teach my 5-year-old about NFTs?”
School breaks might mean family trips, part-time employment, sports and hobbies, or simply soaking in the luxury of not having to complete schoolwork for some youngsters. Others will have to learn about NFTs.
With the rapid growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency, it is common to see parents trying to introduce their children to the world of crypto. Many parents will simply show them a smartphone wallet or a piece of paper with some cryptocurrency on it and let them decide if they want to learn more or not.
However, some other parents are taking matters into their own hands and are teaching their children about crypto. One such parent is New York-based mom, Stacey Thompson, who has been teaching her daughter about NFTs since the girl was three years old. Thompson says that her daughter has been fascinated by NFTs from the very beginning.
She says that she wants her daughter to be able to understand what’s going on in the world around them and knows that education is the key stepping stone in this process. “I’ve seen firsthand how much better my daughter’s cognitive skills have developed since she started learning programming,” she said. “It’s not just knowing how something works — but understanding why something works.”
The Back Story
In the summer in Los Angeles, dozens of children aged 5-17 are scheduled to attend the third-ever course of Crypto Kids Camp. They’ll get to know the world of virtual and artificial intelligence through engaging exercises and games. (The program was initially scheduled to start in April during the school holiday; however, the camp has been moved to the summer because of a problem with construction within their facility.)
It’s part of a growing cottage industry comprised of headquarters or startups and videos that aim to educate the next generation on Web3 and sometimes before they’re ready to read.
According to the founder Najah Roberts, The camp is a means to reduce the gap in wealth between privileged children and those in communities that aren’t served. “It’s important to catch our kids when they’re young to help them open their minds to the possibilities,” she states. “You can tell them that there are jobs in tech, but when they know that they can create those jobs, those platforms, those games, you see their minds open.”
The camp lasts for a week and costs $500, splits children across four age categories. Each of the kids spends a specific amount of time in various technology-related modules that adhere to Beastmode (that’sBlockchainn, the evolution of money cyber security, artificial intelligence, technology/virtual reality, mining, machine learning drones, online gaming and even engineering). A few parents can pay for it. However, those from lower-income backgrounds could be eligible for the benefit of an award of a scholarship.
The kids who attend camp receive laptops and a drone, a robot, a VR headset, and a smartphone equipped with a cryptocurrency wallet, all to keep. “It’s like Christmas,” Roberts says. Roberts, on occasion, campers receive their wallets. “They’re stoked.” She is preparing for big goals: Crypto Kids Camp plans to open in six states this summer. And in the fall, there are predicted to be 41 locations in the nation.
It’s not the only children’s camp dedicated to the topic. Similar programs are available in schools like the University of Pennsylvania and other universities across the nation, in Miami, and, of course, online. Children’s media also has capitalized upon Web3: Zigazoo, a similar platform to TikTok for children aged 3-12, has announced NFT collaborations with YouTube’s recognizable stars Cocomelon, Blippi, and Serena Williams’ Qai Qai universe.
“We’re trying to teach kids about digital and financial literacy and empower them to create their art and go build the future of the web,” says Zigazoo founder Zak Ringelstein. In this brave new world are crypto-only virtual piggy banks for children and books and YouTube explainers that include titles like “C Is for Cryptocurrency” and an NFT-based children’s show on TV that features tiny cactus plushies.
These initiatives are often marketed as being at the forefront of education and training for future employees to get lucrative jobs in technology. The main reason for the programs designed for parents to be sure is to make up for the lack of financial education offered in all public schools in the US. However, underpinning this still-young industry is the question of whether cryptocurrency or blockchain is the future we are preparing their kids for.
There are a lot of good arguments to think that Web3 generally is based on shaky technology and makes promises that look great on paper but fail in reality and that’s not even mentioning the likelihood of being sucked into in the name of the creator of an NFT project or being tricked by a meme coin’s creator is significantly higher than investing in conventional financial instruments. Some have suggested that children need more education on secure ways of investing.
“I find it a little frightening to hear that there’s this industry out there socializing very young children about hazardous products,” says Joyce Serido, a professor of family sociology at the University of Minnesota who studies the financial behavior of families. She’s a proponent of informing youngsters about money as early as possible, but she worries that children’s cryptocurrency market is untested and volatile enough to comprehend.
“You can explain that for every person who [hits the jackpot], there are 1,000 who lose it all, but that doesn’t resonate with a 15- or an 18-year-old,” she states. “They’re thinking ‘, I’m going to be the one who makes it.'” Her suggestion: “Give them $5 to invest in crypto, or let them play an online stock market simulation game to limit losses. If they fail the game, it’s a valuable lesson.”
Sereno’s first suggestion for teaching children about money aligns closely with Crypto Kids Camp’s advice: Begin with something tangible, such as actual currency, which can demonstrate that money is an unreliable resource. However, she says that “the second lesson, which is probably the most important, is that what you’re trying to help your children learn is self-regulation”, that is, they must be able to control their impulses.
Another essential aspect is to ensure that they are learning from trustworthy sources. It’s difficult to verify information from YouTube or message boards anonymous or from their peers. Teachers report that they’re seeing that their students are spending more time on websites like Robinhood, which allow users to trade and buy crypto.
Although technically, it’s only accessible to 18 or older, Some teenagers have an account that a parent created for them. Many wallets for crypto don’t have any age limit whatsoever. Nate, an educator from Virginia who asked to not mention his last name due to fears about future employment, says that he’s observed his students in high school develop an enthusiasm for cryptocurrency, stock trading, and sports betting in the past two years.
In class, when he was in the hall, he would glance at their monitors — all males — and observe the fluctuating moods in the Robinhood line graph or the FanDuel homepage. There was a tale from a colleague teacher concerning a student in ninth grade at another school who put bets on a university football match and was awarded $500,000 and had pretended to be his father had made a bet.
Nate says that he can discern when a child might be entering into financially risky habits: “Once they start fanboying Elon Musk, you’ve probably got a kid interested in these things,” Nate states. It’s also becoming apparent that middle schoolers are reacting to the excitement around NFTs but aren’t aware of their meaning.
During an assignment in a class that dealt with AI-generated art, “there were several sixth-grade boys elated to see that you could turn the art into an NFT and sell it,” he claims. “They knew it was cool and trendy, and their ears perked up.”
When you consider the current media frenzy over kids such as British 12-year-old Benyamin Ahmad who earned more than NFTs with pixelated whales or the duo of brothers aged 14 and $400,000 in just two months from selling and 9 who earn $30,000 a month by mining bitcoin.
This is the reality that Gen Z and Gen Alpha were born into: a world where entrepreneurs are celebrated as heroes, a magazine called Teen Bo$$ exists, and earning money is a pastime. “I am fascinated by how advanced these young children are about these emerging technologies,” Serio says. Serio. However, she says, “our mission is to help them navigate the world they will inherit, a world we don’t understand, and we’re not going to be here to see.”
It’s too early to know whether Web3 is the solution. However, Najah Roberts and other teachers believe it will be the case and want children to be ready. “We started off educating adults,” she states, “and then we realised that our children require this. STEM and STEAM are not doing hugely.
Everyone is eager to discuss the coding process, which is fantastic; however, what next? We want to make sure that our children receive the same level of education that adults, however, with a greater speed. Because they’re the future.”
Gen Z and Gen Alpha are the future of the financial world. They are the first generation to be born into a digital world and are using this in a way that no previous generation has been able to do.
It is predicted that they will be the first generation to earn more money than their parents, which can potentially lead to issues such as inequality or social unrest. The rise of blockchain technology has led to an increase in cryptocurrency, which is expected to continue with this trend.
In order for Gen Z and Gen Alpha to fully understand the potential of blockchain technology they need more exposure to it. This can only come from having more classes on blockchain technology at their schools, however, it needs more teachers willing to teach about it.
With enough exposure, Gen Z and Gen Alpha can become ambassadors for blockchain technology throughout society as they grow up and become financially successful adults.