Survey Suggests Time Teens Spend Playing Video and Online Games Can Be Used to Teach Important Life Lessons

Junior Achievement and Capital One Launch JA Finance Park Virtual, an Online Educational Game that Helps Kids Learn Personal Finance Skills

Aug 09, 2011, 10:33 ET from Junior Achievement

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- School is out for the summer and for many teens playing video or online games is high on their activity list. 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 launched today 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 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.

"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 Carolyn Berkowitz, vice president of Community Affairs at Capital One. "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.

"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.

To experience JA Finance Park Virtual, please visit  

Survey Methodology

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. The margin of error for the interviewing is +/- 3.8 percentage points. Interviews were monitored at random. Sampling for this study was conducted across the United States using a national probability sample of all exchanges and area codes of households with someone between the ages of 11-17 living there. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from United States Census Bureau statistics.

About Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 124 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional 6 million students served by operations in 123 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., had $126.1 billion in deposits and $199.8 billion in total assets outstanding as of June 30, 2011. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One, N.A. has approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.

SOURCE Junior Achievement