As social media continues to sky-rocket and reach new faces, it is in the hands of parents, leaders, and organizations to assist young adults with understanding trustworthy information on digital platforms and how to and steer clear of questionable ideas that impact decision-making for successful futures.
According to a recent CharityRX survey, 33% of Gen Zers trust TikTok more than doctors. Additionally, the United Nations and statistics via Statista, 4.76 billion people, or 59.4 percent of the world’s population, currently use social media.
This combination of usage and trust has the potential to be a recipe for disaster – one that could put many young adults in serious debt.
What’s the Harm in Social Media?
“Influencers are suggesting students use their student loans to buy real estate, to not invest or maximize in a 401k program, and that you can get rich quick by becoming a day-trader overnight,” says EVERFI Co-Founder & President, Ray Martinez.
Early learners are social media sponges––they consume and absorb just about anything they hear or see online.
‘FinTok,’ TikTok’s personal finance sector, has ranked over 3B views for its educational videos about how to make money, save money, and score free stuff. The platform is lacking a filtration system that sifts out the “bad advice” and helps individuals “use social media responsibly.”
“A majority of young teens in this country have access to a device and they’re on social media. At the age of 13 students go through what’s called ‘financial socialization’ where they develop their norms, values, and relationships with money,” Martinez notes. “When you get advice from social media sites, you want to make that advice is trusted.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that “People typically begin to build money habits, norms, and values during middle childhood through a process called financial socialization. These habits and norms continue to develop through adolescence and influence many financial behaviors and habits in adulthood.”
So, where does one go for trusted financial advice?
Sure, TikTok offers the option to turn on “Restricted Mode,” but it appears that the real solution is to include conversations and legitimate education about money in institutions and other learning spaces.
Parents Want Protection, Teachers Want Preparation
Money is an overwhelming topic, but it leads to discussions that help you learn about your child’s goals and future aspirations. Get-rich-quick schemes trick many into thinking hard work and the basic infrastructure of how you save is a myth, however, this information is a conversation that needs to be addressed early on and implemented in institutions so that young adults can set up successful financial futures.
Although young adults can learn about finances on their own by consuming what they see on their devices, institutions play a huge role in providing education that is effective and trustworthy.
15 states have mandated financial education to be in their schools, but is that enough? EVERFI leaders express that there needs to be a larger call-to-action to making financial education required in schools across all 50 states a priority.
“If you ask most teachers what they want from their students when they graduate high school, they want to make sure that their students are prepared for the real world, and money is a real-world issue” says Martinez. “One thing that’s very positive that you’re starting to see in public school systems are us providing teachers better resources that are free and available to everybody.”
Ditch the Binoculars When Looking for Financial Education
“Schools have a really important role to play in providing the right financial advice, literacy, and education for young adults.” Martinez suggests parents look to the following for areas to go to for financial education for their children:
- Schools – Courses and Extra-curricular programs
- Communities – Financial Advisors and Institutions
- Non-profits – Jumpstart, EVERFI, and other organizations that provide expertise and ease for learning financial topics
Not only is EVERFI the leading solution for connecting learning to the real world by delivering research-backed education with a measurable impact, but it offers many of its digital courses for teachers, parents, and students to use for free. Additionally, EVERFI partners with thousands of organizations to sponsor digital education programs in schools.
Just Like Students Do, Take Notes from These Organizations
Brands like Zelle, MassMutual, and Truist saw an opportunity and took advantage of the ever-lasting impact financial education has on students during the beginning of their financial journeys.
MassMutual provides a free, national middle school financial literacy program, FutureSmart, available in both English and Spanish, that teaches kids about setting goals, creating a blueprint for the future, and the difference between needs and wants.
“FutuerSmart has had a major impact on my life and has completely changed the way I think about money. I now have a financial vocabulary and perspective that has shaped my future educational goals and financial decisions. Without FutureSmart, I had no control over my future. But now, my destiny is in my hands.” Student, Kentucky
Varo Bank’s program, Save Up, teaches kids about the value and importance of saving, not just spending.
Additionally, One Main Financial has a program called Credit Worthy that teaches about the importance of your credit: one of the most crucial financial grades one receives throughout one’s life.
Join us and the thousands of companies we’ve partnered with to provide impactful financial education by supporting our Financial Capability Month mission to get 500 schools sponsored. Sponsor at least 25 schools by March 30th, and you’ll receive the tools to launch your own custom campaign-in-a-box for Financial Capability Month.