Digital literacy: Should young generations learn about crypto?
Since their inception, cryptocurrencies have elicited a diverse range of reactions from the financial community and the public. While they have made significant strides over the years, with Bitcoin and Ethereum at the forefront of gaining mainstream acceptance, they continue to be seen as a contentious asset class. Despite a growing familiarity with how to buy crypto, consensus on their role in the financial system is still divided. Consequently, the appropriateness of educating young generations about digital currencies has emerged as a subject of vigorous debate.
A reality we can’t ignore
Considering their novelty and unpredictable nature, it’s difficult to say if cryptocurrencies will still be around ten years from now. But we might as well see them competing with fiat money in a couple of years. Both scenarios are equally possible. The fact that digital currencies have managed to survive numerous bear markets and scandals and are still going strong despite the current regulatory crackdown is proof enough of their strength and resilience.
Regardless of your views on cryptocurrencies, they could end up influencing people’s future. That’s why it’s better for them to be prepared and gain awareness of crypto than to struggle to make sense of it later on. When they reach adulthood, this will enable them to take advantage of the perks that crypto offers, minimise the risks it implies, and thus make better-informed financial decisions.
Also, compared to older demographics, the young generations are digital natives, growing up in a tech-dominated world and surrounded by smart devices that they’ve learned how to use from a very early age. This means there’s no point in trying to keep young generations away from the digital realities of the moment such as the existence of cryptocurrencies since they’ll pop up on the radar sooner or later and they’ll come to find out about it one way or another.
Therefore, it’s much better for adults to step in and control the narrative by deciding when is the right time and how much people should learn about digital currencies.
The ABC of crypto
Any way you look at it, crypto is a vast and complex topic. It’s difficult enough for adults to grasp the concept of digital money and understand the inner workings of the technology that powers them, let alone for a kid who hasn’t yet learned the basics of money and finance. So, age is a major factor to take into account when introducing young generations to this novel asset class.
While most experts agree that financial education should start as early as possible, you might want to leave crypto lessons for later. It’s only after young people have gained a solid understanding of how money works that they can start learning about crypto. This should ideally happen around adolescence, when people usually become more interested in the world of finance and their exposure to digital innovations like crypto also increases.
However, in order for them to be able to digest crypto-related information it’s important to make this a gradual process. Microlearning or bite-sized learning might be the most suitable method in this respect. This implies breaking down complex and lengthy information into smaller and more manageable chunks that young generations can process with ease. If they are met with too much information at once, they might feel overwhelmed and give up on deciphering complicated crypto concepts.
Another effective way to familiarise with digital currencies is to take advantage of social media platforms. Preteens and teenagers especially like to spend time on social networks to connect with their friends and stay up to date with the topics that interest them. So, platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok can provide the opportunity for them to learn more about crypto, as there are many content creators covering the topic on all major social media sites. Many of them are knowledgeable and able to present complicated crypto concepts in an engaging and easy-to-understand manner that can make the learning process more enjoyable for them.
Nevertheless, adults should always assist young people in selecting the sites and sources that they can use to improve their crypto literacy. The internet is as useful as it is dangerous and misinformation gets spread around easily, especially when it comes to crypto. There are tons of shady websites and ill-intentioned influencers out there trying to lure people in with get-rich-quick schemes and other unrealistic promises, and it’s easy for naïve minds to fall into their trap. Since young people don’t know how to filter online content, it’s important for adults to keep a close eye on the sites and apps that children access to protect them from common online risks.
As for the crypto topics that people should know about, there are a few essential aspects to point out. After learning what crypto is and how it functions, they should be made aware of crypto use cases. Many online articles only talk about crypto as a trading or investment mechanism but fail to provide information about its other applications and how one could benefit from it in everyday life.
Next comes the topic of accessing cryptocurrencies and storing funds safely as there are specialised platforms that can help in this respect. Choosing trustworthy crypto exchanges is another important aspect to take into account.
Obviously, one should not forget about the risk of dabbling in crypto. Despite their increasing popularity, people should know that digital currencies are high-risk assets due to their price volatility, so using crypto is something that must be approached with great caution.
Some might say that cryptocurrency is a topic that doesn’t concern young generations in any way. But the reality is they these days are already exposed to crypto information, whether we realise it or not. So, helping them process this information and making sure they have a good understanding of these assets when the time is right is something that adults might want to consider.
The editorial unit