Survey Suggests Time Teens Spend Playing Video and Online Games Can Be Used to Teach Important Life Lessons Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas and Capital One Launch JA Finance Park Virtual, an Online Educational Game that Helps Kids Learn Personal Finance Skills

HOUSTON, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Playing video or online games are high on the activity list of many teens. According to a new survey from Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF), 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. The good news is that 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.

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

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 Rick Franke, president, JA of Southeast Texas. "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."

In the greater Houston region, JA of Southeast Texas plans to reach more than 12,000 middle grades and high school students with JA Finance Park Virtual in five school districts including Conroe ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Katy ISD, and Spring ISD.

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.

"JA Finance Park Virtual will help bring Junior Achievement's nationally recognized personal finance curriculum to more young people across the country in a way that's fun and inviting for them to learn," said Annella Metoyer, Houston Market President for Capital One Bank. "Capital One is proud to continue our long-standing partnership with Junior Achievement to help young people learn important financial skills critical for their economic success."

Teachers who have piloted JA Finance Park Virtual in the classroom have found the online channel particularly effective in teaching their students.

"JA Finance Park has really changed the way my students think about creating budgets and savings plans," said Lawrence Cousin, a teacher at Edison Middle School in Houston. "Understanding and using basic personal financial planning tools is so critical to the lifelong success and financial self-sufficiency of my students, and JA Finance Park Virtual has made those tools accessible and digestible for my students."

JA Finance Park Virtual is the latest innovation to stem from a six-year partnership between Junior Achievement and Capital One. Since 2006, Capital One has contributed more than $13 million to Junior Achievement to help thousands of students across the U.S. gain the money-management and life skills needed to compete effectively in the global economy. Together, Capital One and Junior Achievement created an innovative mobile financial education program, launched in 2006, called Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park. As of summer 2011, Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park has impacted more than 80,000 students, including 21,000 in the greater Houston region.

To experience JA Finance Park Virtual, please visit http://financepark.ja.org.  

Contact: Kevin R Hattery, 713.682.4500, ext 231, khattery@jahouston.org

SOURCE Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas



RELATED LINKS
http://houston.ja.org
http://financepark.ja.org

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