Quit Playing Games With Our Teens
This is a cease and desist request to companies peddling all versions of get-rich-quick snake oil to our teens.
Stop it. Really.
Stop telling our 8-13 year olds they can learn all about Bitcoin and how to invest in it, in half an hour no less. (Yes, that’s the age group the company advertisement was targeting, in exactly the aforementioned time period.)
Stop trying to teach our 12–15 yrs old’s to trade stocks on online platforms. (Another ad.) Most of these kids don’t know the basics of personal finance and have no clear understanding of savings, budgeting or emergency funds. (And incase you’re wondering, no, covering these concepts wasn’t part of the program.)
Stop making our teenagers believe they are ‘investing’, when they are in fact speculating. As Charlie Fritzgerald, a financial literacy advocate says, “Speculating doesn’t make one an investor any more than betting on a football game makes one a football player.”
There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can. — Mark Twain
Stop telling our teenagers that they can get rich quick and with very little training, by learning to pick stocks and time the market. Most teenagers don’t have even a rudimentary grasp of debt and interest owed, let alone risk assessment and diversification. And again, these key ideas aren’t on the get-rich-quick curriculum.
Stop touting your gamification strategies. We know that this is just a way to lure kids into consistent participation on the platform, and get them hooked.
Stop talking about ‘democratizing investing’, we know this a just a gimmick to beguile younger and inexperienced customers.
And these young ‘customers’ have no idea what margin calls, options or leverage even mean.
They aren’t emotionally or intellectually mature enough to withstand the manipulative and predatory marketing tactics you use.
Their pre-frontal cortex isn’t developed enough to assess dangers and risk.
So stop. Please.
June 12th, 2021 marks one year since the tragic suicide of 20 year old Alex Kearns, a student at the University at Nebraska.
He killed himself because he mistakenly believed he lost $750,000 in an options trade.
Isn’t this heart-breaking enough for the industry to put some checks and balances in place? And no, offering education resources to users to read at will doesn’t cut it.
In the note Alex left before he threw himself in front of a train, he admits he had no clue to what he was doing.
Do you really need a more jarring wake up call?